• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Troost-Ekong backs Osimhen for Super Eagles captaincy

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Nigeria’s national football team captain, William Troost-Ekong, has expressed his belief that striker Victor Osimhen has the qualities necessary to lead the Super Eagles in the future.

Troost-Ekong, a veteran defender with 71 international caps, highlighted Osimhen’s dedication and leadership qualities on display during the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). While Osimhen’s goal tally was modest at the tournament, his work ethic and team-oriented approach were crucial to the team’s success.

This sentiment echoes Troost-Ekong’s own path to leadership. Born in the Netherlands, he previously represented the Dutch national team at the youth level before switching allegiance to Nigeria. Since his debut in 2015, Troost-Ekong has established himself as a mainstay in the Super Eagles backline, leading the team through multiple tournaments including the 2016 Olympics, two AFCONs, and the 2018 World Cup.

While Nigeria fell short of their AFCON title aspirations, Troost-Ekong’s individual performance was noteworthy. He was awarded the tournament’s Golden Ball after scoring three crucial goals, including strikes in both the semi-final and final.

Looking ahead, Troost-Ekong sees Osimhen following in his footsteps. “He is a leader in our team,” Troost-Ekong remarked. “I constantly remind him of the influence he has on the entire squad with his playing style. He understands his importance to Nigeria, both on and off the pitch,” according to Soccernet.

Troost-Ekong’s own future with the national team is currently uncertain due to injury. He suffered a serious injury shortly after the AFCON and is likely to miss the remainder of the club season for his Greek team PAOK. This casts doubt on his participation in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin in June.

However, Troost-Ekong remains a strong contender to retain the captain’s armband despite the competition from emerging talents like Benjamin Taminu. With the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yet to appoint a permanent head coach following Gernot Rohr’s departure, Troost-Ekong’s experience and leadership are seen as valuable assets for the national team.