Troost-Ekong, who is wearing boots at Afcon made from bamboo and other sustainable materials, was born just outside Amsterdam to a Nigerian father and Dutch mother and was capped at youth level by the Netherlands.
The former Groningen defender, who also had spells with Udinese and Watford, admits he dreamed of representing the Oranje senior team before a call from Stephen Keshi, then the Super Eagles coach, convinced him to pull on a Nigerian shirt.
“I watched a lot of football with my dad. He was always watching the Super Eagles, but growing up in Holland, I also dreamed about playing for the Dutch national team,” said the player, who moved to the UK aged 12 to attend boarding school.
“But when I got the phone call from Stephen Keshi at the time, who was a player and a legend who I watched growing up as a kid, especially as a central defender, I was kind of taken aback – and for him to ask me to play for Nigeria, I didn’t have to think twice.
“I think I said yes before I even had to think about anything or ask anyone because it just felt right, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Troost-Ekong, who has family in the southern city of Uyo as well as in Lagos, spent several months on holiday in Nigeria every year while growing up and says the country “felt very much like home and still does”.
After hopping from the Dutch league to the English and Italian top flights followed by his recent move to Greece, Troost-Ekong opted to offset the carbon from his travels in another nod to the environment.
As he settles in Thessaloniki, he is hoping to add some winners’ medals to the Olympic bronze he won with Nigeria in 2016.
“I am really enjoying it and I am hopeful I can add some silverware to my career, here as well as back home,” he said.
Source link : https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/africa/68047540?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA
Publish date : 2024-01-21 14:02:22