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Troost-Ekong Picks Balogun His Preferred Super Eagles Defensive Partner

Troost-Ekong Picks Balogun His  Preferred Super Eagles Defensive Partner

William Troost-Ekong has named Leon Balogun as his preferred Super Eagles defensive partner.

Troost-Ekong, 26, formed a perfect partnership with Balogun during the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The duo were also head coach Gernot Rohr’s first-choice centre-back pairing prior to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Troost-Ekong has, however, partnered other players like Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem and Semi Ajayi lately after Balogun failed to secure game time at Brighton which also limited his chances with the West Africans.

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“There have been many different partnerships I have played with. Again over the last five years, the games I have played, most of them with Leon,” Troost-Ekong told Super Eagles media team in an Instagram chat.

“He has been very good, I think we have good understanding. Leon has more experience, he came one year before I played my first game for the Super Eagles.

“He is like a big brother to me and it has been good playing with him, I have learnt a lot from him as well.

“It always makes it easier when you have the same kind of mentality because you can understand each other well and you make good decisions together.”

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  • Chima E Samuels 1 year ago

    CS continue releasing this unnecessary news that does more harm than good. I pray players beefing will not be our new nemesis in the super eagles camp when football resumes, with all this crazy headlines. News don finish abi? Make una continue next next news is Kenneth Omeruo will prefer Akpeyi to Uzoho. Note that the players are reading this news on lockdown and how will it feel if they are not preferred by the other. Hmmm

    • B.T. 1 year ago

      Thank you my brother. Insensitive report which could cause disaffection among the players.

    • presh 1 year ago

      Your spot on.

    • Kelvin 1 year ago

      I jst tire for dis reporters oo..if no news den lockdown d site cos dis will stir up issues in d team

  • Pompei 1 year ago

    We need to find ways to foster unity and togetherness in the SE camp. News like this has the potential to be divisive. Unnecessary wahala, in my opinion. The players should come to camp ready to give their best whenever they are called upon. And whoever is selected to start should have the full support of the guys on the bench. Right now, we’ve got great centerbacks in Balogun, Ekong, Ajayi, Omeruo and Awaziem. All are good enough to start, and can do a solid job. Hopefully, they will compete with each other and make themselves better.
    If I was a player in a team, and one of my team mates is scoring 90% of all the goals, I would be absolutely delighted to have someone on my team who is ready and willing to take on such an important responsibility. If his goals help us to win a tournament, guess what? I may not kick a ball throughout the tournament, but I will receive my winner’s medal at the end. And if an opportunity presents itself to enter the pitch, I will give 120%. That’s the spirit we want to promote.
    The team spirit is what matters most, not who is starting or who prefers to play with who.

  • Larry 1 year ago

    Does Ekong think he is better than Ajayi or Omeruo or Awaziem in that central defence position?
    The central defence remains one of the most competitive positions in SE. However, Ekong has been made to feel indispensable eventhough he is not the best in that position.

    • JimmyBall 1 year ago

      …honestly speaing, in my opinion, Troost-Ekong is the weakest central defender we have.He is very vulnerable with reckless and brawlish tackles under pressure and very tardy tracking back… He would not be starting if I were the Coach…

  • Prince 1 year ago


    If I am the coach, I will have a one-on-one serious discussion with Ekong to find out if he actually made such statement…and if he did, he will sit on the bench so that he knows that his job is to play and not make choice of who plays.

    Can he make sure a comment with regards to his team mates at Udinese fc ?


    • Ugwudede 1 year ago

      In all honesty the captain armband is supposed to be for Omerue. He is the oldest super eagle playee after Musa. As for Ekong i have been resisting the urge to read such unpatriotic writeup. But he should watch it. Before he tears the unity of the team by his unprofessional speech

  • stan 1 year ago

    @Larry you have said it all. Ekong is overated he is not better than any of omeruo. Ajayi. Awaziem. a good coach will not start ekong.

    • Paul Kelvin 1 year ago

      He has played under three coaches and very regular .in Dutchh leaque he was regular,at his current club in Italy,he is a super regular and at national team he is regular.So these are not good since he cant play under a good coach.You are made your point not report any thing that will cause disunity in SE.But don’t say omeruo,ajayi we better players than ekong.I don’t think they are although still very good players

  • In the article above, Super Eagles centre back William Troost-Ekong was quoted as stating that his preferred Super Eagles centre defence partner is Wigan’s Leon Balogun with whom he enjoyed success in a number of games during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers between 2016 and 2017.

    Believing that he and Balogun have ‘good understanding’ playing alongside each other, Ekong said: “It always makes it easier when you have the same kind of mentality because you can understand each other well and you make good decisions together”.

    However, questions remain as to the best defensive partnership for the Super Eagles since Rohr took over as Super Eagles Gaffer in 2016.

    I will now explore the options:

    Ekong – Balogun: in the minds of many Super Eagles fans, this combination seems to inspire considerable confidence due to the chemistry they have struck.

    Ekong appears to know when Balogun is over committed and then races through to clear up behind him.

    There appears to be this symmetry which makes communication more seamless. The fact that only one of them is more error-prone (Ekong) makes this combo a balanced and complementary one.

    Key match(es) : the back-to-back world cup qualifiers against Cameroon in 2017 and the home qualifier against Zambia showed this combo at its best with timely communication and effectiveness in defensive combinations.

    Omeruo – Ekong: an instant drawback of this combination is that both players are error-prone which chips away at any confidence fans would have in their paring.

    They also play similar styles in that each is fluid and mobile with the tendency to tackle first and think later – as seen of Ekong at the World Cup against Croatia.

    They both launch into tackle in manners that leaves them over-committed with scope for much error.

    However, one good thing about this combination is that they have goals in them. Very rarely does Balogun/Ekong combo produces goals however, in just 5 matches in the 2019 Afcon, Ekong and Omeruo scored 2 goals between them.

    Also, they are both paces and have decent recovery rates.

    Whilst they are both decent defenders, this combo will always be slightly rough around the edges.

    Key matches: this combo produced 2 clean sheets and to goals to helped propel Nigeria to the semi-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

    Awaziem – Ekong : this combination got off to the most disastrous of fashions when miscommunication between the two gifted Tokelo Ranti a free header for South Africa’s first goal in an Afcon qualifier on 10 June 2017. To compound matters, both of them were nowhere to be found when Percy Tau ran and rounded off Akpeyi for their second goal which condemned Nigeria to our first defeat against South Africa in a competitive fixture.

    These days, Awaziem plays more as a full back for the Super Eagles. His pairing with Ekong will seem weak. They both appear slightly similar in approach but might also not always be on the same page.

    I think they are better left apart – unless we are desperate.

    Ajayi – Ekong: against Benin and Lesotho, the combination conceded early thereby putting the Super Eagles on the back foot against less fancied oppositions. The truth is that this combo is still very fresh hence they need time to develop a level of understanding that will make them to function with telepathic symmetry.

    On this face of it, this duo has the tendency to develop into something like the Ekong-Balogun partnership. Ekong’s brashness can be tempered by Ajayi’s poise and polished approach.

    Ajayi’s ability to read the game can help alert Ekong to potential dangers as they emerg with the right strategies to address the threats. Both have the tendency of being on the same page with their agreed tackles and interceptions.

    This combination can work.

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