Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong who made his debut for Nigeria in 2015 and has gone on to make 19 appearances for the Super Eagles, in an interview on Thursday disclosed that former Super Eagles Coach, Sunday Oliseh had doubts about his ability to play well for Nigeria when he was first called-up to the team.
According to 24-year-old Williams Troost-Ekong who was pivotal as the Super Eagles became the first African team to qualify for the Russia 2018 World Cup after forming a solid partnership with German-born defender Leon Balogun, said he was disappointed when he was told by former Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh that he was not physically capable of playing in Africa.
“There were a lot of doubts over me because I did not play for a big team in Holland before my first call-up. Then, on top of that, being ‘Oyibo’, or half-white, you have to prove yourself even more.
“My partner at centre-back (new Brighton signing Leon Balogun) is half-German, half-Nigerian, so he is the same as me. After a game, he (Oliseh) said we were too soft to play against African players. That upset me, because one of my traits as a player is that I am someone who does not back away from anyone. I am not the most skilful, but I know what I am good at.
“I think that’s part of being from different countries, different cultures. It’s not nice when people try to use that against you. I identify myself as being Nigerian as well, and I feel at home in the team. Not once have I ever looked around and thought ‘this is not for me’. But it spurred me on. I have played against African strikers since then and no one has bullied me. I have proven my point” he said.
William Troost-Ekong earlier this year became the third African player to commit one per cent of his salary to charity as part of Juan Mata’s Common Goal project. He is born to a Nigerian father and Dutch mother. His fiancée is in England – expecting their first child.