'How would you feel if you've just lost a final?' - Troost-Ekong reacts to defeat to CIV, winning Best Player award 

Published: February 12, 2024
'How would you feel if you've just lost a final?' - Troost-Ekong reacts to defeat to CIV, winning Best Player award 

The 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations concluded on Sunday night with hosts Ivory Coast coming from behind to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the showpiece staged at Alassane Ouattara Stadium.


Shortly after the game ended, the Confederation of African Football handed out awards to the top individual performers of the tournament. 


Captain William Troost-Ekong received the Best Player award despite Nigeria not finishing as champions  and in doing so followed in the footsteps of three Super Eagles legends who won the award in the past. 


Previous Nigerian winners of the AFCON Best Player award are Christian Chukwu, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha and Rashidi Yekini.


Troost-Ekong was the linchpin of the Super Eagles defence that was on the brink of keeping five consecutive clean sheets before conceding a 90th minute goal in the semifinal win over South Africa. 


When asked the mood of his teammates after the painful defeat, Troost-Ekong told reporters in the mixed zone: "How would you feel if you've just lost a final? It's a lot of emotion and we try to learn from it, there's a lot of young talented players that will be back for the AFCON in the future.

"Congratulations to Ivory Coast, we will be back better."


Troost-Ekong had a thank you message to his teammates as he reacted to winning the Best Player award of the 2023 AFCON. 


"It's very special, I couldn't have done this without the team. This tournament we have to look back and say we have had a fantastic team performance for the whole tournament. I think they could have given this to maybe some other players in the team as well.

"I'm very proud but I would have loved to swap this for the real trophy."


Troost-Ekong became the top-scoring defender in Africa Cup of Nations history with five goals after he opened the scoring against the Elephants in Sunday's final. 






Igho Kingsley 



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