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Troost-Ekong Hints On ‘Next’ Super Eagles Captain

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Troost-Ekong Hints On 'Next' Super Eagles Captain

The captain of the Nigerian Super Eagles, William Troost-Ekong, has expressed confidence that Victor Osimhen possesses the qualities necessary to become a future leader of the national team.

Naija News understands that Troost-Ekong has been a key figure in the national team since his debut in June 2015 during an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Chad.

However, he sees great potential in Osimhen and wants him to captain the Super Eagles in the near future.

“I am a fan of his. I saw his journey when he came to be a part of the Super Eagles in 2019, as an understudy of Odion Ighalo. I saw how hard he worked,” Troost-Ekong said in a recent interview.

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He added: “He is a leader in our team, and I tell him that ‘everybody is watching you. The way you play, it drives all of us’. I just try to remind him how important he is and I think he understands that role now and what he means to Nigeria as a person and as a football player.

“I’m sure that he’s going to be a captain of the Super Eagles in future, that’s my wish for him. And for him to win the AFCON and be the leader in that moment.”

From The Netherlands To Nigeria

Troost-Ekong, originally born in the Netherlands, began his international career representing the European nation at U19 and U20 levels before eventually switching nationalities to play for Nigeria.

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With 71 appearances for the Super Eagles under his belt, he has participated in various tournaments such as the 2016 Olympics in Rio, two AFCONs, and one FIFA World Cup, Naija News reports.

In the recent 2023 AFCON held in the Ivory Coast, Troost-Ekong played in six out of Nigeria’s seven matches, helping the team reach the tournament final.

Despite the Super Eagles falling short of clinching the Nations Cup title after a defeat to hosts Ivory Coast in the final, Troost-Ekong’s outstanding performance earned him the Golden Ball award and a spot in the tournament’s best XI.

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Osimhen As Future Super Eagles Captain

Troost-Ekong, the PAOK defender, managed to score three goals in the tournament, two of which were in the semi-final and final against South Africa and Ivory Coast.

As the captain of his country for two AFCONs in a row, Troost-Ekong has expressed his belief that Osimhen will eventually assume the leadership role.

Like Troost-Ekong, who has showcased exceptional leadership qualities throughout Nigeria’s AFCON campaign, Osimhen, despite scoring only once, has also made significant contributions through his hard work and selfless style of play.

Additionally, Osimhen played a crucial role in Napoli’s title victory last season, setting an example for his teammates and finishing as the top scorer in Serie A with 26 goals.

Troost-Ekong Suffers Setback From Injury

Naija News reports that Troost-Ekong is set to be sidelined for the rest of the season at PAOK due to a serious injury sustained shortly after the AFCON.

Despite his efforts to play through the pain during the tournament, the former Udinese and Watford defender suffered a ruptured biceps femoris in his right foot upon returning to his club.

Following surgery in Finland, he missed Nigeria’s friendlies against Ghana and Mali in March and now faces a race against time to be ready for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin in June.

Even if he manages to recover before then, Troost-Ekong will have to compete for his spot in the team with emerging talents like Benjamin Taminu.

Troost-Ekong found himself in a similar situation prior to the 2024 AFCON, as he was neglected in the months leading up to the tournament. Nevertheless, he persevered and managed to regain his place in Jose Peseiro’s plans, eventually becoming a regular starter under the Portuguese manager.

Currently, the Super Eagles do not have a permanent head coach, and Finidi George has been appointed as an interim solution by the NFF.

Regardless of who takes over as Nigeria’s next coach, it is highly unlikely that Troost-Ekong would be stripped of the captaincy, especially considering the uncertain state of Ahmed Musa’s international career at the moment.

A graphic designer turned into an immensely creative journalist committed to high-quality research and writing. A gospel music minister and Sportsman - Meet me on X - [@JoshuaOgunsile]

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