The Super Eagles will have no shortage of motivation to beat the Squirrels of Benin when both sides face off in Group L of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nation qualifying tournament on Wednesday defender William Troost-Ekong has declared.
The defensive bulwark who has been in scintillating form for Italian side Udinese said the hunger to win the tournament in 2021 will drive the team to ensure they take the first step towards qualification by defeating Benin in the 5pm encounter at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.
Having had a first taste of the continental showpiece earlier in the year in Egypt where he scored a goal as Nigeria finished in third place, 26-year-old Troost-Ekong wants to go one better by emulating teammates Ahmed Musa and Kenneth Omeruo in lifting the trophy in Cameroon.
And he doesn’t envisage ending his international career without having won the much-coveted trophy.
Thoughts of winning the trophy he says fill him with a ‘fire’ which keeps complacency at bay and ensures he remains sufficiently motivated regardless of the calibre of opposition.
“All of us are here because we are very passionate to play football, all of us want to do well for our country,” Troost-Ekong said ahead of the match. “I haven’t had yet the position to win AFCON, I think Kenneth [Omeruo] and [Ahmed] Musa have experienced that so I think that for me it’s still a fire that’s burning.
“So, it always makes you want to do more we want to make sure we qualify from the group we want to go further we want to do something that hasn’t been done before.
“So, I don’t think its ever a question of motivation and I don’t think you can ever be in a position where you’re done with your country until you’ve won everything and we are not there yet all of us are very passionate.
“I think it’s easy to motivate for this kind of qualifications because we want to be at the tournament again.”
Nigeria open their Group L 2021 AFCON qualifying campaign against the Squirrels of Benin by 5pm on Wednesday, 13 November at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.