Italy-based defender William Troost-Ekong has sent out a rallying call to his Nigeria teammates to be ready for Saturday’s Group E Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against minnows Seychelles in Victoria.
The Super Eagles will aim to beat the Pirates at the 10,000-capacity Stade Linite in Victoria to resurrect their Cameroon 2019 hopes – after suffering a humiliating 2-0 defeat by South Africa in their opening fixture in Uyo last year.
With Seychelles losing 5-1 to Libya in the other group fixture, the Eagles, who failed to qualify for the last two editions (2015, 2017) of the elite tournament, are left in a precarious position.
Troost-Ekong is aware of this and has called for the Eagles to seize the opportunity at Stade Linite.
“It was hard for all of us after we could not progress from the group stage at the World Cup. But I still look back with pride about the team because our outing in Russia has definitely made us hungrier to qualify for the 2019 AFCON and to go all the way there,” the 25-year-old, who represented Nigeria at the Russia 2018 World Cup, told thenff.com on Monday.
He added, “I think we have demonstrated now that when Nigeria play at their best there aren’t many teams we have to fear.
“But it will be a hard job in the next two months and I know the boys and staff are taking these games (against Seychelles and Libya) very seriously. But of course, I believe if we perform at our optimum, we will garner the points from the remaining matches and qualify for the final tournament.”
The Dutch-born centre-back says he is happy plying his trade in Italy’s top flight after playing in the backwater leagues of Europe – Belgium, Holland, Norway and Turkey.
Troost-Ekong said, “It (quitting Turkish side Bursaspor for Udinese during the summer transfer market) has pulled me out of my comfort zone again and I feel like I’m already making some good progress since my arrival, but I’m only just getting started.
“It has been hard work, persistence and the help of God. I’m grateful for where I am now but definitely not satisfied yet; I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist has started all three matches for Bianconeri Friuliani since joining them on August 17.
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