I considered leaving Super Eagles, didn’t speak with Peseiro before AFCON – Ekong

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Super Eagles Captain William Troost-Ekong has revealed that he considered leaving the Super Eagles before the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

Ekong admitted he was not on speaking terms with former Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro and was concerned about the treatment he received from the Portuguese after the disappointment of the team missing out on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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At the 2023 AFCON, where the Super Eagles lost 2-1 to host Cote d’Ivoire in the final, Ekong shone like a million stars and led the Super Eagles. He scored three goals at the tournament, taking his total tally at the AFCON to five, the most by any defender in the competition’s history.

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Ekong was voted as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).

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Speaking with CNN, the 30-year-old stated that he didn’t speak with Peseiro for months, and considered quitting international football.

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“It resulted in us not actually speaking for a few months,” Ekong told CNN World Sport’s Amanda Davies.

 

“That was the time where my pride and ego, I think maybe got the better of me. I thought about stopping, thankfully, I’ve got a good group of people around me who took me out of it.”

 

Ekong, who played for the Netherlands at the youth level, looked back on the moment he made his debut under the late Stephen Keshi, adding that he wanted to ‘give my younger self a better ending.’

 

He said, “It made me think about my younger self and how much it meant and how proud I was to play my first game for Nigeria.

“I deserved to give my younger self a better ending. So that was the thing that changed my mind … I think my career has always been a testament of not giving up.”

Ekong condemned the abuse of teammate Alex Iwobi on social media after the final against Cote d’Ivoire on February 12.

 

He said, “It’s unfair, and it’s something that has become part of the Nigerian football fan culture. Different players have been there at different stages.

 

“I’ve been there, but not to his extent, some years ago. Alex has a big personality; it’s something we love about him. He carries the team in his way; people sometimes forget that he’s played about 75 games for Nigeria. He’s past his uncle’s (Jay Jay Okocha) scoring record for Nigeria. There’s so much he’s done for the country.

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