The late coach gave many players a chance in the Nigerian national team, and one of them has expressed his sadness over not getting to spend enough time with him
Watford defender William Troost-Ekong has said that he will never forget late Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi for the rest of his life.
Ekong made the first of his 39 appearances so far for the Super Eagles under the Keshi, and for that reason, he holds the former Togo coach close to his heart.
Speaking in an interview on Watford’s youtube page, Ekong cited Keshi as one of the black men that inspired him as a person.
“Stephen Keshi is someone close to my heart,” Ekong said. He was my first manager with the Super Eagles. I made my debut under, and then sadly, a few months later, he passed away, which is quite shocking at the time.
Before Keshi took over as Nigeria’s head coach, he was formerly a player and was one of the best centre-backs to ever come out of the country.
Ekong, being a central defender himself, revealed Keshi influenced him as a centre-back, saying he was one of the Nigerian players he looked up to.
“And also being a central defender, he was a player I grew up watching and looking up to,” Ekong added.
” He won the AFCON as a player and as a manager, had success with Togo as well.”
The Super Eagles vice-captain also revealed the soft side of Keshi, saying the former Anderlecht defender was a loving person.
“He was just a general very loving and caring person, so yeah, it’s sometimes difficult to come across people in the football industry that you can really relate to have a connection with.”
“But from the first time he called me up to be part of his team when I was 21 or I think 22, it was already something special that I spoke on the phone to a legend.”
“Then a few months later, when I met him, and he actually put me in the team to make my debut, yeah, it was unbelievable.”
However, Keshi passed away a few months after Ekong made his debut, and the 28-year-old feels sad he was not able to thank him for the opportunity.
“So I feel indebted to him for the rest of my life, and yeah, I feel like I didn’t have a chance to really say thank you to him for that moment because he passed so suddenly.
“Because like I said, he is someone very close to my heart and yeah, an idol for me on and off the pitch,” Ekong concluded.
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