Troost-Ekong’s Never Say Die Journey To 50 Super Eagles Games


What started as a normal desire to switch allegiance to wear Nigeria’s jersey turned into a story of resilience and leadership for William Troost-Ekong.

A walk down Ekong’s football career portrays a man on a mission who wouldn’t let a No stand in his way.

On Friday, September 3, 2021, William Troost Ekong started the Liberia game as the captain in a World Cup qualifier in Lagos.

William Troost-Ekong Captain Eagles

The Liberia game is his 50th for the Super Eagles as he gets closer to a century.

That number could have been a mirage if he didn’t follow his heart and never gave up.

Ekong ‘s first attempt at playing for Nigeria was going well until the former coach of the team, Sunday Oliseh, told him he was too soft to play in Africa.

‘’He didn’t believe in me then, but I think Nigerians can see now what I can do,’’ Troost-Ekong told

He continued, “I hope he is watching his TV now and seeing us going to the World Cup. No ill feelings. I saw him at the Olympics last year and, we spoke briefly.”

Troost-Ekong Grandpa
Super Eagles defender shows off his maternal grandfather

Born to a Nigerian father and a Dutch mother, Troost-Ekong with a foothold in the youth teams of the Netherlands but ended up choosing Nigeria as his senior team of choice.

The Watford defender made his debut for the Super Eagles on June 13 2015, in a game against Chad.

Coach by late Stephen Keshi, they won 2-0, with goals from Gbolahan Salami and Odion Ighalo in Kaduna.

With his super eagles’ journey in tow, Troost-Ekong soon shifts focus to the Olympic team.

He won his first medal, a bronze with the U23 team of Nigeria.

Ekong Olympic

The Oyinbo Wall

William Troost Ekong has been one of the mainstays of the super eagles’ defence, building the famous Oyinbo wall partnership with Leon Balogun.

Other defenders like Kenneth Omeruo, Semi Ajayi, and others worked hard to break the partnership

and create new ones, with Troost becoming the centrepiece under coach Gernot Rohr.


During the 2019 AFCON, the Oyinbo wall led Nigeria to a third-place finish, with Troost-Ekong scoring a memorable goal against South Africa.

A Believer In The Super Eagles Project

Cyriel Dessers was facing a similar situation between his mother’s country, Nigeria and holding out for a Belgium call up.

Troost-Ekong’s experience came in handy in speaking to the super eagles’ new striker.

Dessers was turning heads in the Dutch league with a modest side, Heracles Almelo netting 15 goals.

“I spoke with Cyriel Dessers before his call up. He asked me questions about being part of the team. We both speak Dutch. It was normal for us to talk. I said he should take the opportunity with both hands. I told him there is a tough competition in the striker role and that playing for the Super Eagles is the best decision I have ever made myself playing football.”

Troost-Ekong: Creating His Destiny

The 2021/2022 football season also witnessed fulfil a dream of playing in the English premier league.

Born in the Netherlands and educated at Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire Football took Ekong to Tottenham Academy.

Troost-Ekong Spurs

He didn’t make the grade at Tottenham and, he was released, making the EPL dream out of reach.

Ekong recalls one of his last moments at Tottenham In his video documentary, ‘I told you so

“One of my last moments, before I left Spurs, was when I had a meeting with one of my coaches.

He told me and my mum that I wasn’t good enough to play, that he didn’t think I could make it as a football player.”

“This kind of upset me so much at the time but later became a big point for me to prove, first to them, then to myself and finally to the world that I am good enough to make it to the top.”

William Troost Ekong
William Troost Ekong in action for Watford FC

Achieving the EPL dream took him through six clubs in seven years before signing for Watford in The English Championship.

After just a season, Watford gained promotion to the EPL.

The boy who started by cleaning football boots for EPL stars is now lacing his boot in the prestigious league.

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  1. […] 11-years journey with the eagles has taken him through the highs and lows on a personal and team […]

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