The golden generation of Nigerian football mostly consist of players who were born and grew up in Nigeria, but Efan Ekoku was an exception
The former Norwich star was born in Manchester United but represented Nigeria at the international level. Ekoku who was the first Nigerian to play in the Premier League revealed that his time in the Super Eagles squad was a challenging one, but he got a good reception from his teammates.
The ex-footballer turned commentator was a member of the Nigerian team that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and also qualified for her first World Cup the same year.
While the national team may be another experience for a player who did not grow up in Nigeria, Ekoku revealed he felt the warmth of his teammates.
However, he revealed it was a difficult challenge as he had to compete in a time when Nigeria had the best team in Africa.
“I got a good reception, a very challenging environment in terms of you had to be confident about yourself or with yourself,” Ekoku said in an interview with BCOS TV.
“It’s one thing to have the ability, but also to have the mental attitude to be able to cope at any level whether it’s Germany or in Europe or home-based players.”
“You know, you then come to meet the best players, you have to step up mentally. Chances are fewer. You have to take your chances when it arises.
“But yea, you know, I had no problem. I was in Nigeria for five years. I was not a complete foreigner, so that made it easy.
“I did not feel uncomfortable at any stage,” Ekoku added.
The 52-year-old revealed his fondest memory during his time with the team was when he made his debut against Georgia. Ekoku went on to make 20 appearances for Nigeria.