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2022 World Cup qualifiers: Nigeria vice-captain Troost-Ekong wishes to achieve something special in Qatar

2022 World Cup qualifiers: Nigeria vice-captain Troost-Ekong wishes to achieve something special in Qatar

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The Watford centre-back was celebrated by his international teammates as he became a year older on Wednesday

William Troost-Ekong has stated his birthday wish is to see Nigeria qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

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Troost-Ekong, who doubles as the Super Eagles’ vice-captain, turned 28 on Wednesday and he was celebrated by his international teammates at their base in the Eko Hotel and Suites, in Lagos.

After singing the chorus of birthday songs, Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi prayed for the celebrant before he was asked to state his wish.

Ahead of their Group C qualifiers opener against Liberia, the former Udinese defender has his sights on playing in another World Cup after his maiden outing in the tournament in Russia 2018 where the Super Eagles did not make it past the group stage.

“My birthday wish is that we qualify for the World Cup and we can do something special as a team,” Troost-Ekong said.

“I’m really proud to be part of this team. I love you guys and it is like celebrating my birthday with my second family.”

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The Watford star has been a regular fixture in Gernot Rohr’s team since he made his debut appearance in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad in June 2015.

He is among the key players who could feature against the Lone Stars at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Friday but he has been ruled out of the trip to Cape Verde on Tuesday alongside other Premier League stars like Everton’s Alex Iwobi, Leicester City duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi. This is because their clubs have refused to allow their players to travel to the red-listed countries in England’s coronavirus watch.

“They are two defensive midfielders but have few chances to play tomorrow [on Friday] because we have all the UK based players around,” Rohr said in his press conference on Thursday.

“Also, none of the UK-based players will be with us for the second game. They have to leave after the match tomorrow against Liberia.

“They will not be in Cape Verde which means there will be another team but for the moment, we will only focus on the first game.”

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