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Troost-Ekong: Why I Don’t Regret Choosing Nigeria Over Netherlands 

Troost-Ekong: Why I Don’t Regret Choosing Nigeria Over Netherlands 

Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong has given his reasons why he does not regret choosing to play for Nigeria over the Netherlands.

Troost-Ekong stated this following claims by former Dutch national team star Rafael van der Vaart, that the Super Eagles vice-captain could have played for the Netherlands if he had been patient.

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Born to a Nigerian father and a Dutch mother, Troost-Ekong played for the Netherlands U-19 and U-20 teams.

However, Troost-Ekong switched his allegiance to Nigeria and made his debut on 13 June 2015, playing 90 minutes in an AFCON qualifier against Chad.

Speaking in an interview with Soccernet, Troost-Ekong said: “I’m satisfied, I’m really happy with the place I am right now. 

“Of course, when you do look back it is always easy to advise someone what they should have done. But I think I made a lot of right decisions and I stand by my decisions that it was always a dream to play for Nigeria. 

“The pride I get playing for Nigeria wearing the shirt, I wouldn’t want to trade that for anyone else. Who is to say that playing for the Netherlands is better than playing for Nigeria? 

“I respect his opinion and his view because it’s also showing that I’m doing something well for people to be talking like that and especially a great player like Rafael van der Vaart. 

“I’m very happy about my decision and wouldn’t change it for anything.”

On the issue of over reliance on players born and bred abroad over home-based players, Troost-Ekong said organisers of the NPFL must put in place a good structure, to give the home-grown players the opportunity to play for the national team.

“As a country, we have to consider all players with Nigerian roots. I’m grateful for that otherwise I won’t be playing for Nigeria if you only considered the home-based players. It’s also part of modern-day football,” he posited.

“I was born abroad but my father is Nigerian so I’m first-generation Nigerian born abroad. For many players like that, it is important to make sure when you choose the team for continuous development in the long-term, to pick the best players available. 

“However, I strongly believe there has to be increased investment in the NPFL because you can’t force anyone to be selected but the home league needs to be consistent. 

“I think it is good when we do see a home-based player come with us and they’re really part of the team. For the long-term, the best thing will be to have a great platform for players in Nigeria to show themselves there and hopefully get selected. 

“We can’t disregard foreign-born players either, I think it will be a disadvantage for Nigeria. We have to look across the board and hopefully, there will be a good balance [that] will hopefully see Nigeria grow.”

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And on the young players currently in the Eagles and what the future holds for the team, Troost-Ekong said: “We have so many young players, most of the players are under 24. Wilfred Ndidi is someone that is already doing so well and I think he’s going to be a big name, hopefully, a household name within Africa. Maybe he could win an African Player of the Year because he’s at such a stage now. 

“Of course, we have [Samuel] Chukwueze, we have Victor Osimhen, Ola Aina is also a good young player. It is good to see them all coming and it puts pressure on us older players, everyone has to stay on top of their game. 

“And for the coach, it is becoming easier to put together a good team because if there’s a player that’s not performing or is injured, we have so many options that entail our team shouldn’t get any weaker.”

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  • Ololo 4 years ago

    I love this man.. His opinion is sincere.

  • You nailed it.
    No regrets..
    You nicely fitted into the system and stole the show.
    You formed a perfect back line that can’t be overlooked….

    We love you Bro

    • Ekong we love you. You are committed. God bless. Always making super eagles super!!!

  • Ekong you are always making super eagles super. Love

  • Pompei 4 years ago

    KING EKONG….this guy reminds me so much of UCHE OKECHUKWU, THE GENTLE GIANT. Fact is, Ekong has grown so much in the past 2 to 3 years, and playing for Nigeria contributed a lot to that growth. It is easy to imagine the Dutch kicking themselves for not giving Ekong a chance. He would have been a great addition to their squad. Nigerians are not complaining though! There are many things to admire about Ekong. A very humble, hard working, down to earth chap. He doesn’t joke around with national team business. Always reports to camp on time, and if selected, gives 100% on the pitch. He has been a good vice captain for the team. And at 26 yrs of age, the guy has a lot of football left in him.
    Right now, Nigeria is blessed with world class center backs:
    CHINEDU AWAZIEM (who has also performed well for us as a right back)
    LEON BALOGUN (a lion of a defender. Forget the situation at Brighton and whatever. This is a guy that becomes a beast whenever he wears the Nigeria jersey. Hopefully, he leaves that stupid club in January. All he needs is some regular football to regain match fitness, and he will be back!)
    This five guys are the main guys, as far as the center back position is concerned. And they are all quality, so the competition for jerseys is a positive thing.
    We also have STEPHEN EZE, the no-nonsense Lokomotiv Plovdiv defender.
    Come 2022, these guys will all be in their prime. Exciting times ahead for Naija football! Let’s hope that the confusion the NFF is generating with Rohr’s poisoned chalice of a contract renewal does not put all our hopes and dreams in jeopardy.

    • Kryss 4 years ago

      Good talk my friend Pompei.

    • Glory 4 years ago

      Always hitting d nail right on its head me broda man @pompei. Good one.

      • Pompei 4 years ago

        Thanks, Glory my good man. I really, really hope Leon’s situation improves soonest. It’s so sad to see such talent go to waste like this. Let’s hope Leon’s agent has started earning his salary. January must not pass him by!

        • Glory 4 years ago

          Broda Leon’s case is kinda heart breaking. A proper defender/player been wasted by a shit football club like Brighton/Hove fc. It really does my head in, that I just feel like getting my hand around the neck of those good for nothing managers over there. If Leon remains there after ds January, then he has himself to blame.

  • Kryss 4 years ago

    Good talk my friend Pompei.

  • MacDonald Kingsley 2 years ago

    They will not listen, they don’t pick from the local football or home players. They prefer the the ones that are connected to them

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