Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong has disclosed that former Super Eagles manager, Sunday Oliseh labelled him and Leon Balogun too soft to play African football during his reign as coach.
Having become an integral part of the Super Eagles after representing Nigeria’s Dream Team known as the U-23 team at the 2016 Olympic Games, Troost-Ekong has grown in strength and experience.
He told Guardian.co.uk in an interview that playing for Nigeria was a dream come true and has given him the opportunity to improve his career.
Troost-Ekong said that he was first upset when he was told by Oliseh that his physical appearance won’t be good enough to confront African strikers.
“My partner at centre-back [new Brighton signing Leon Balogun] is half-German, half-Nigerian, so he is the same as me,” Troost-Ekong says. “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.”