Troost-Ekong recounts playing through serious pain to lead Super Eagles at AFCON 2023

Super Eagles Vice-captain William Troost Ekong was a rock at AFCON 2023 (Photo Credit: Imago)

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Super Eagles stand-in captain William Troost Ekong (Photo Credit: Imago)

Troost-Ekong recounts playing through serious pain to lead Super Eagles at AFCON 2023

Izuchukwu Akawor 11:32 - 22.03.2024

Nigeria's William Troost-Ekong speaks on how he emerged AFCON hero despite a serious hamstring setback in Cote d'Ivoire.

William Troost-Ekong's remarkable contributions to Nigeria's AFCON 2023 campaign have been further illuminated following revelations of his battle with injury throughout the tournament. 

Pulse Sports Nigeria reports that despite playing with a hamstring injury that has now effectively ended his season, Troost-Ekong's tenacity saw him crowned as the AFCON Player of the Tournament.

Troost-Ekong’s injury struggles at AFCON

The defender's exceptional performances, including crucial penalty conversions and pivotal defensive displays, were not simply the result of physical ability, but also a testament to his mental fortitude and determination to lead by example. 

Troost-Ekong's resilience in the face of adversity added an extra layer of admiration to his exploits on the pitch.

William Troost-Ekong will miss the rest of the season after he played through AFCON injured
William Troost-Ekong will miss the rest of the season after he played through AFCON injured. || Image credit: X

Speaking about the extent of his injury, Troost-Ekong revealed, "I had a torn bicep femoris, which is basically the outside part of the hamstring," he explained per Watfordobserver. 

“It happened during the tournament and I think I had a small tear initially in the second group stage game against Ivory Coast.

William Troost-Ekong scored the decisive winner for Nigeria against Ivory Coast.
William Troost-Ekong scored the decisive winner for Nigeria against Ivory Coast. (Photo Credit: CAF/X)

However, despite suffering the injury early in the tournament, the 30-year-old soldiered on, epitomising the unwavering commitment expected of a true professional.

The toll of the injury was evident as Troost-Ekong battled through matches with limited training and significant discomfort. 

"I couldn’t really train after the second group game. I was just trying ice to keep the swelling down," he admitted, shedding light on the challenges he faced while managing the injury in Ivory Coast.

Troost-Ekong's decision to persevere through the pain speaks volumes about his dedication to both his country and the sport, even though it has ultimately cost him the rest of the season. 

William Troost-Ekong takes a spot kick against South Africa at AFCON 2023.
William Troost-Ekong takes a spot kick against South Africa at AFCON 2023. (Photo Credit: Imago)

But his willingness to sacrifice personal comfort for the greater good of the team exemplifies the selflessness that is often revered in footballing circles.

Now, Troost-Ekong has gone through surgery to rectify the injury and is fully focused on his recovery and ensuring he returns to the pitch at full strength. 

MVP Troost-Ekong (m) of Nigeria celebrates one of his goals at AFCON 2023.
MVP Troost-Ekong (m) of Nigeria celebrates one of his goals at AFCON 2023. |IMAGO

"I want to be 100% for next season, 100% right," he affirmed, highlighting his long-term perspective and commitment to his future performances. “If I can play at the end this season that’s great, if not then I will be ready for next season.”

As Nigeria's AFCON campaign fades into memory, Troost-Ekong's heroics will undoubtedly be remembered as a defining chapter in the nation's footballing narrative. 

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Troost-Ekong's journey may be temporarily interrupted by injury, but his legacy as a stalwart of Nigerian football continues to shine brightly as an example for future generations of aspiring footballers.

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