Bursaspor and Super Eagles of Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong has hit back at former coach of the Nigeria national team Sunday Oliseh who once told him he can’t cope with the demands of African football.
Ekong who has since grown into a firm fan favourite with fans of the Nigeria national team made his International bow for Nigeria under late coach Stephen Keshi but lost his spot in the team when Sunday Oliseh was appointed as coach.
According to Ekong, Oliseh told him and his now established centre defence pair Leon Balogun that they are too soft to cope with the physical demands of African football. Something they have since conquered to form a formidable partnership affectionately referred to by Nigerians as ‘Oyibo Wall “.
The duo are expected to partner each other once again when Nigeria take on England tomorrow at Wembley in a friendly game as they step up their preparations for the World Cup in Russia.
“My partner at centre-back [new Brighton signing Leon Balogun] is half-German, half-Nigerian, so he is the same as me,” Troost-Ekong says. “After a game, he [Oliseh] said we were too soft to play against African players. That upset me, because one of my traits as a player is that I am someone who does not back away from anyone. I am not the most skilful, but I know what I am good at”, Ekong said in an interview with the online version of UK based media outfit Telegraph.
“I think that’s part of being from different countries, different cultures. It’s not nice when people try to use that against you. I identify myself as being Nigerian as well, and I feel at home in the team. Not once have I ever looked around and thought ‘this is not for me’. But it spurred me on. I have played against African strikers since then and no one has bullied me. I have proven my point.”