Super Eagles of Nigeria head coach William Troost-Ekong has come out to say the Africa Cup of Nations should be given “100% respected.” The Watford center-back said seeing Premier League players being asked if they would honor their national call-ups had been “difficult”.
William Troost-Ekong Hypes AFCON
William Troost-Ekong is set to lead the Super Eagles Nigeria out against seven-time champions and 2017 finalists Egypt on Tuesday in his first major tournament as captain.
According to the player, he said: “If it was the Euros or any other tournament, I don’t think there would be any kind of conversation like this,” he told Football Focus. “That would be ludicrous.”
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira and former Newcastle and Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong have all spoken about how lowly people Europe have talked down on the tournament, they all said the tournament to be given more respect.
28-year-old Troost-Ekong is one of five Premier League players representing Nigeria in Cameroon. Only four English top-flight teams – Leeds United, Newcastle United, Norwich City, and Tottenham – have no players at the tournament.
Troost-Ekong will come up against Liverpool striker and Egypt captain Mohamed Salah in Nigeria’s opener.