Bursaspor defender William Troost-Ekong has urged his Super Eagles teammates to go all out for an outright win against Algeria and finish their World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Nigeria, who have already qualified for the Russia 2018 World Cup, face Algeria in Constantine on Friday in their final qualifier. Kick off is 8.30pm Nigerian time.
The draw for the Mundial will hold on December 1 at the FIFA Headquarters in Zurich.
“I am not scared to play against any team,” Troost-Ekong told thence.com.
“But of course, we hope for a favourable draw. We have to believe in ourselves just like we did in the qualifying campaign. Many doubted us winning a group with Cameroon and Algeria, and look where that got us!
“I think we have a very hungry and exciting squad now and realistically, we should be aiming for the knockout stages and just take it game by game.
“It is a big achievement for Nigeria and for me to qualify for the World Cup. It has encouraged me to continue to step up my game in preparation for the World Cup, and of course, at the tournament itself.
“We should aim to finish our World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten and again use this as a game to improve as a team.
“The experience garnered playing for the Super Eagles has been life –changing for me. Facing some of the best forwards in Africa, whilst having to perform and deliver for such a football-loving nation like Nigeria is a pressure that improves you as a player. I enjoy being with the team, and working with quality players.”
Troost-Ekong, who has been shortlisted for the African Player of the Year award, has formed the ‘Oyinbo Wall’ in Nigeria’s central defence with Leon Balogun but is ready to pair with any defender.
He added: “Playing alongside someone like Leon Balogun with his quality has definitely helped, but I would feel just as comfortable playing next to anyone now.”
On the friendly against Argentina, Ekong revealed his excitement taking on the some of the best players in the World.
“No, I am excited,” he said. “To be competing against the very best in the world and probably my generation, is something to look forward to. But that level of respect is where the Super Eagles should be too, so this is a chance for us to test ourselves.”
On his experience at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Troost-Ekong added: “Yeah, that was an unforgettable experience. I am very happy with our ticket for the FIFA World Cup but now I am focused on performing for Bursaspor in the next 7 months, together with the Super Eagles’ friendlies in order to be fit and ready next summer. I want to be on that plane to Russia and make Nigeria proud again like we did in Brazil last year.”