Troost-Ekong: Inspirational Super Eagles captain reveals ‘special’ AFCON memory

William Troost-Ekong, captain of the Super Eagles, recently shared his most treasured memories from the Africa Cup of Nations tournaments he has participated in.

Leading the defense during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Ekong emphasized two standout moments that held special significance for him during the competition.

“Scoring in the final was special,” Troost-Ekong acknowledged to CAF Media, “and the togetherness of the team after the penalty shootout against SA in the semifinal.”

Leadership defines William Troost-Ekong's AFCON

The Super Eagles' journey to the final of AFCON 2023 was not without challenges, as a shaky start with a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea threatened to rattle the team.

William Troost-Ekong: Inspirational Super Eagles captain reveals 'special' AFCON memory
Photo by Icon Sport

However, Troost-Ekong steadied the ship, converting a crucial penalty in their crucial 1-0 victory over the Ivory Coast hosts. This set the tone for the rest of the group stage, with Nigeria securing a clean sheet against Guinea Bissau to advance to the knockout rounds.

The semi-final against South Africa was a tense affair: after 1-1 draw in regulation time where Troost-Ekong had already converted from the spot, the game went to penalties, with the Super Eagles holding their nerve to emerge victorious over Bafana.

This moment of collective triumph, as described by Troost-Ekong, perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the team.

Bittersweet AFCON for Super Eagles & Ekong

The thrill of the penalty shootout victory was fleeting as Nigeria ultimately came up short in the final against Ivory Coast.

Despite fervent support from their home crowd, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 38th minute. Once again, William Troost-Ekong played a pivotal role, scoring a header to put his team ahead.

William Troost-Ekong: Inspirational Super Eagles captain reveals 'special' AFCON memory
Photo by Icon Sport

However, the hosts mounted a spirited comeback in the second half, leveling the scoreline before Sebastian Haller struck a decisive goal just 10 minutes before the final whistle, securing a third AFCON title for Les Éléphants and leaving Nigerian fans heartbroken.

Troost-Ekong's outstanding performances throughout the tournament did not go unnoticed. He was rightfully honored as the MVP of the 2023 AFCON, a well-deserved accolade for his leadership, defensive prowess, and crucial contributions in key moments of the competition.

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Toyosi Afolayan

Toyosi Afolayan is a sports journalist who breathes life into the games we love. He loves to combine insightful analysis with historical background, creating a richer understanding of sports. Afolayan's expertise ranges from captivating narratives to live broadcasts, captivating audiences across platforms like Ojbsport, AllNigeriaSoccer, TVC Entertainment, Bounce Networks, Kwara TV, ICIR, EaglesTracker, and NFF TV. His background in History and International Studies adds depth, revealing the connections between sports, politics, and national identity.