The Udinese defender has warned fans and teammates to be wary of the threat posed by their opponents on Tuesday as the absence of experienced players in the Super Eagles will count as a disadvantage for the team.
Super Eagles defender and stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong has cautioned his colleagues to expect a difficult game against high flying Ukraine when the two teams clash in a friendly match slated for the Dnipro Arena in September 10.
Troost-Ekong raised the warning after seeing about four regular first team starters withdraw from the encounter only for head coach Gernot Rohr to replace them with mostly players who were earning their first callup to the national setup. Mikel Obi and Odion Ighalo have both retired while the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Ahmed Musa, Henry Onyekuru, Kenneth Omeruo have all asked to be excused, a scenario that bothers Troost-Ekong greatly.
”First of all, I would like to thank Ukraine for a very warm welcome. As for the upcoming match, it will be difficult for us, because now there are not many experienced players in our squad,” Ekong told reporters during a pre-match press briefing monitored by Soccernet.ng.
”Although, on the other hand, young players are always eager to play for the national team.”
Andriy Shevchenko’s men were at their devastating best when they humbled Lithuania away from home by three goals to nil, a fact that is not lost on Troost-Ekong.
‘The whole team watched the match between Ukraine and Lithuania, and I must say that the game of the Ukrainian national team really impressed us.
”In addition, the fact that in the FIFA ranking our opponent holds a rather high position also speaks volumes. The match against Ukraine is a challenge for us, for which we are ready”
Ukraine, ranked 25th on the FIFA world ranking, have not lost a game in this calendar year, winning four and drawing the other in their five games played so far.
The tie against the Yellow Men is the Super Eagles first match since the team won a bronze medal at the African Cup of Nations by beating Tunisia by a solitary Odion Ighalo strike.