Ekong vows to return stronger after surgery

Most Valuable Player at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, William Troost-Ekong, is keen to return stronger after undergoing surgery in Finland on Tuesday following an injury he picked up during the tournament in Ivory Coast, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The defender is expected to be out of action between three to six months for rehabilitation due to ruptured biceps femoris in his right leg

Troost-Ekong sustained a hamstring injury during Nigeria’s second game against Ivory Coast and was subsequently rested for the final group game against Guinea-Bissau. He, however, played the rest of the tournament and emerged as the best player.

After his impressive performance at the AFCON, the injury might have doused the transfer speculations around him but the player says he will return in a greater shape for both club and country.

“As many know, I got injured during AFCON. Disappointingly, this injury has turned out to be more serious than first thought. I have always given everything and pushed myself. Every player has played with pain at some point in their career to fight for club or country. Its part of the game,” the player said on Tuesday.

“I managed to continue in the knockout stages, and I was willing to continue to do the same now to help PAOK push for the prizes in the league and Europe too. But after more assessments and consultations it was the best decision long-term to undergo surgery now. My full focus is on getting back better than ever before.”

He scored three goals at the AFCON, including a powerful header against Ivory Coast in the final, which Nigeria lost 2-1.

With five goals at three AFCON tournaments, the 33-year-old became Nigeria’s highest-scoring defender in the history of the tournament, the second Nigerian defender after Christian Chukwu to win the prestigious Man of The Tournament award and the first defender since Rigobert Song won it at the 2002 edition in Mali.

After his heroics, reports indicate that the injury has worsened, which could potentially end his season.

Meanwhile, with the PAOK defender set to be out for a long period, the Greek club can trigger a compensation from FIFA due to the manner in which he sustained the injury.

The FIFA insurance scheme for players introduced by FIFA allows clubs to be paid when they lose a player to injury for longer than 28 days because of engagements with their countries.


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