2026 World Cup qualifiers: PAOK’s Troost-Ekong could feature in Super Eagles’ June clashes against South Africa and Benin

Super Eagles vice-captain William Troost-Ekong is eyeing a potential return to the squad for their 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin Republic, as reported by Soccernet.ng.

The standout performer of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Troost-Ekong suffered an injury during Nigeria’s campaign but managed to excel despite the setback, earning him recognition as the tournament’s best player.

Troost-Ekong, speaking with CNN, indicated that he could be back in contention before the end of the season, making him available for Nigeria’s June international fixtures.

“I should be back and fit again in May, but I think it’s probably season over. You never know how rehab will go but I don’t want to rush it because, at my tender age of 30, you have to be smart about these injuries.” He said

However, he emphasized the importance of a cautious approach to his recovery, stating that he wouldn’t rush back if it meant jeopardizing his long-term fitness.

“I want to be 100% for next season, 100% right. If I can play at the end of this season that’s great, if not then I will be ready for next season,” he added.

The PAOK Salonique player detailed the nature of his injury, a torn bicep femoris, sustained during the tournament, and how he managed to play through the pain during AFCON matches.

He said: “I had a torn bicep femoris, which is basically the outside part of the hamstring. It happened during the tournament and I think I had a small tear initially in the second group stage game against Cote d’Ivoire. I managed to play on and then after the final I had another MRI, and we realised it was really ruptured.

“It was very sore playing with it, and I couldn’t really train after the second group game. I was just trying ice to keep the swelling down.

“I might do half an hour of training the day before each game, and then during the game, a combination of painkillers and adrenaline means you can get through it. The day after each game it was definitely showing as I was struggling to walk.”

Nigeria is set to host South Africa at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium and travel to Benin Republic for their upcoming qualifiers in June.

N.B: Would you like to see William Troost-Ekong’s quick return to the Super Eagles squad for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers? Leave your comments below.

Ayomide Oguntimehin

Ayomide Oguntimehin is a CAF-accredited sports journalist and an Editor at Soccernet.ng, with a proven track record in conducting interviews with Super Eagles stars such as William Troost-Ekong, Taiwo Awoniyi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ademola Lookman, and many others. He has also made a significant impact in breaking transfer news stories.

Grounded in video editing, video journalism, social media management, and content strategy, Ayomide brings a wealth of expertise to his work.

With a Bachelor’s degree in English Language from Adeyemi College of Education and a Master’s Degree in School Library and Media Technology from the University of Ibadan, Ayomide is well-prepared to excel in the field.

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