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Troost-Ekong eyes Yobo record

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Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong has stated that he has to win the Africa Cup of Nations before he can be considered a Nigerian great, Soccernet.ng reports.

Troost-Ekong has been one of the most consistent performers for Nigeria since his debut in 2015. The PAOK defender has made 71 appearances for the Super Eagles and has proven to be a reliable leader, as he has been the stand-in captain in the absence of Ahmed Musa.

However, the 30-year-old defender peaked for Nigeria at the 2023 Africa Cup. Troost-Ekong scored three goals in six appearances. He also won the Player of the Tournament award after helping the Super Eagles to a second-place finish and breaking multiple records.
Following his performance at the AFCON, Troost-Ekong has earned Nigerian fans’ respect and has also become a favourite. Also, he could easily be mentioned among Nigeria’s greatest defenders of all time. However, the 30-year-old defender has downplayed such talks as he feels he has not done enough to reach that pedestal.

“I find it difficult to talk about myself as a great. I’ve seen my name mentioned with some other greats, which is already a big honor for me,” Troost-Ekong exclusively told Soccernet.ng.

“Stephen Keshi was my first coach, someone I looked up to, someone I’ve missed very much. To be in the same sentence as him, I think about his AFCON achievements.

“For Joseph Yobo, I think there was a stat, something about how many times I captained the team and I was getting close to him, or maybe I surpassed him.

“Also, there is Taribo West, who just celebrated his 50th birthday. So, when I see players like that and the legacy they’ve left, you only dream about being able to be in that conversation. But I still think I have quite a way to go. I need to win an AFCON, that’s the baseline. We have players like Kenneth Omeruo who have won it.

“We’ve gone from third place to second place. So hopefully, the next AFCON we can win it, and then we can have a conversation about being among the best.”
Troost-Ekong has been injured since the end of the AFCON. Hence, he missed the last international break when Nigeria played Ghana and Mali.
However, he is expected to be available for selection in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa in June.

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