Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong has opened up on how he almost called it quits with the Super Eagles before he was called up for the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast,reports.
Troost-Ekong has been leading Nigeria’s defence line at the tournament as the team hopes to win a fourth title after successes in 1980, 1994 and 2013.
The Super Eagles are currently in the quarter-final of the tournament and face the Palancas Negras of Angola on Friday (today) at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
The 30-year-old has been solid and only missed one game at the tournament, but he could have been done with the national team after being snubbed for almost a year by coach Jose Peseiro.
Before he was called up for the AFCON, his last game for Nigeria was the pre-World Cup friendly against Portugal in November 2022, which the Super Eagles lost 4-0. After that, he was an unused substitute twice, for the AFCON qualifying games against Sierra Leone in June and São Tomé e Principe in September. He was then omitted from the squad in October and November friendlies.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to play this AFCON or not and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue with the national team either because I was weighing all my options,” Troost-Ekong told .
“I felt that maybe the only thing that was going to stop me this time was that there was some disagreement with the coach before the tournament so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be part of the squad or not.
Having admitted to being in disagreement with Peseiro before the AFCON call-up, he also said he never gave up on the team after joining POAK in Greece last summer.
“I stayed in communication with the team, I was wishing them well. I also reminded the coach that I am available and I think everyone was impressed with how I was playing in the league and also the European Conference League.”
Troost-Ekong has made 64 appearances for Nigeria, scoring four goals and three of them have come at three editions of the AFCON (2019, 2021 and 2023).