For William Troost-Ekong, Defending Nigeria Doesn’t End On The Field.

July 8, 2019

Remember all those plans you had for when you turned 25? Fully furnished home, spouse, a child, maybe one or two master degrees in the bag? All that sound familiar to you?

Well, proving we all subscribe to a different Ye when it comes to quarter-century milestones is Nigerian Defender and Super Eagles vice-captain – William Troost-Ekong.

Ekong was born in the Netherlands to a mixed Dutch and Nigerian family. His international career began when he represented the Netherlands at the Under-19 and Under-20 levels before his Nigerian heritage gave him the opportunity to make a senior international debut for Nigeria in 2015.

(Sidenote: remember friends, don’t let anyone ever talk you out of getting a double passport for your children, okay?)

He has so far appeared in at least 120 club matches and has played in 43 games between 2018 and 2019 alone. Most recent of which was the AFCON match between Nigeria and Cameroon, where the God that answereth by fire prevented a repetition of the AFCON Finals of the year 2000.

We caught up with Troost shortly after the victory on Saturday, and asked among other things, what his image of an ideal Nigeria is. To this, he had a simple response, “A Nigeria that allows for equal opportunity.” He is currently putting his money where his mouth is towards making this a reality.

A husband and father, Ekong has an added feather to his hat, seen in his burgeoning role as a humanitarian.

As a member of the Common Goal initiative co-founded by Manchester United midfielder, Juan Mata — Troost has taken on the tackling of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) head on.

NTDs are a diverse group of infections identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as diseases that predominantly infect low-income populations in tropical countries, causing a large burden of morbidity and some mortality. This is despite the diseases being treatable and preventable at very low costs. It includes such diseases as Dengue fever, guinea worm disease, soil-transmitted helminths to name a few.

About 120 million Nigerians are currently affected by the scourge, a number Troost considers unacceptable. In partnership with The END Fund and Common Goal, Troost has started a campaign to counter the scourge.

With the AFCON taking center stage, Ekong looks to return to NTD prevention and treatment advocacy, following the finals, where Nigeria will hopefully be making an appearance, come July 19, 2019. Here’s to achieving more goals both on and off the pitch!

Boyin Plumptre

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