I Contemplated Departure from Super Eagles Before AFCON 2023 – Ekong

Super Eagles Captain William Troost-Ekong recently disclosed his contemplation of leaving the national team before the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire. The defender cited strained relations with former coach Jose Peseiro following Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup as a significant factor.

Despite the discord, Ekong’s displayed a stellar performance at the AFCON, where he scored three goals and earned the Most Valuable Player award, affirming his commitment to the team.

In an interview with CNN, Ekong revealed his rift with Peseiro, stating they did not communicate for several months. He admitted grappling with thoughts of quitting international football, but credited his support system for helping him overcome that challenge. Reflecting on his debut under late coach Stephen Keshi, Ekong expressed a desire to honor his younger self by continuing to represent Nigeria with pride.

Beyond his personal struggles, Ekong condemned the online abuse directed at teammate Alex Iwobi following Nigeria’s defeat in the AFCON final. He emphasized Iwobi’s significant contributions to the national team and denounced the toxic culture of criticism prevalent among Nigerian football fans.

Meanwhile, amid speculation linking him to the Saudi Pro League, Ekong acknowledged the allure of new opportunities but affirmed his contentment at Greek club PAOK, noting the need for careful consideration at this stage of his career.

“I’m very happy here, but I’ve not spoken to my agent yet, but you never know in football. It’s happened to me many times.

“You might get tempted by something bigger and better. At the age of 30, you’ve got to think about all your options. It’s something I will definitely consider” he said.


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