Super Eagles captain, William Troost-Ekong, has emphasised the importance of competence over nationality or identity in appointing the next national team coach, Sunday PUNCH reports.

Following Jose Peseiro’s exit after leading the Eagles to the Africa Cup of Nations final in Ivory Coast in February, discussions have intensified over the Portuguese ideal successor with foreigner, Danny Buijs, Domenec Torrent and Antonio Conceicao and homeboy Emmanuel Amuneke top contenders for the position.

Ekong also acknowledged the success stories of African countries like Senegal and Ivory Coast achieved under their indigenous coaches but cautioned against dismissing the value foreign coaches bring.

The 30-year-old, who was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch mother and Nigerian father, represented the Holland at U-21 level before switching allegiance to Nigeria in  was first capped by the late Stephen Keshi and went on to play under several other local coaches like Augustine Eguavoen, Samson Siasia and Sunday Oliseh.

He also worked with foreign coaches like Gernot Rohr and Peseiro.

Speaking with Eagle7fm in an interview on Saturday, the PAOK defender, stated that the Eagles ultimate goal is to win the Africa Cup of Nations and surpass their best feat at the World Cup.

“Senegal and Ivory Coast have done well under their own coaches. The coaches already understand the culture and players and can easily relate to the team.

“But you cannot also dismiss a foreign coach. My experience with Rohr was very good, also Peseiro. It (the appointment) should not be based on nationality and identities. We should decide on what is best for team because we want to win the AFCON and go farther at the World Cup.”

Troost-Ekong made his debut for the three-time African champions in a match against Chad on June 13 2015 and has played 71 times for Nigeria scoring seven goals.

Ekong won Olympic football bronze with Nigeria at the 2016 Rio Games, a bronze and silver at the 2019 and 2023 AFCON tournament in Egypt and Ivory Coast respectively.

By probe

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