The former Hertha Berlin ace could play a crucial role for Nigeria at the continental championship in Ivory Coast
Gent centre-back Jordan Torunarigha has expressed his delight at carrying on his father’s legacy by donning the jersey of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Soccernet.ng reports.
The 26-year-old defender, who debuted for the Nigerian national team in their 3-2 victory over Mozambique last week, described the experience as a ‘very special’ one.
Torunarigha, who was in coach José Peseiro’s starting lineup, spent 75 minutes on the field before being substituted for Calvin Bassey.
After his previous appearances for the German youth teams and his participation in the 2021 Olympic Games with Germany, Torunarigha is now committed to Nigeria.
Reflecting on his debut, Torunarigha told Transfermarkt, “It was a very special moment and I’m really proud. Nigeria is a team with many top players and great characters that you enjoy being on the pitch with.
“We won, that’s always the most important thing. We would have liked to keep a clean sheet, but it was fun on the field. I hope the coach and my teammates were happy.”
Hailing from a lineage of football excellence, with his father Ojokojo having represented the Super Eagles twelve times during his playing career, Torunarigha acknowledged his family’s significant role in his journey.
“Of course, we talked a lot about the topic before the nomination. My dad and my whole family are very proud and happy,” he said.
“They were there when I was first invited by Nigeria and will continue to support me in the future. If I need advice from my dad, he’s always there for me.”
Looking ahead with determination, Torunarigha expressed his ambitions, stating,
“I have two big goals with Nigeria: the Africa Cup of Nations next year and the World Cup in 2026. I will and we will give everything for that.”
Torunarigha, Nigeria’s second most valuable central defender, will look to be a part of the Super Eagles squad for the 2023 AFCON that kicks off in January.
Head coach Peseiro has several centre-backs to pick from, including William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem, Semi Ajayi, and Kevin Akpoguma, among others.
Torunarigha will, however, hope his experience playing in the Belgian top flight and the Europa Conference League will give him an edge during the final selection process.