Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong has been hailed as the standout performer of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), earning the prestigious title of Best Player of the Tournament.
Despite Nigeria’s loss to Ivory Coast in the final, Troost-Ekong’s exceptional leadership and skill were evident throughout the competition.
The central figure in POAK’s defence, Troost-Ekong, not only marshalled the backline but also captained the team, demonstrating his versatility and importance on the field.
With three goals in seven games, his contributions were significant.
He notably secured a crucial victory against Ivory Coast in the group stage with a well-taken header, converted a penalty against South Africa, and powered home another header in the rematch against Ivory Coast.
In the final match, Troost-Ekong once again rose to the occasion, scoring a powerful header just before halftime to put Nigeria in the lead.
However, Ivory Coast’s Franck Kessie levelled the score in the 62nd minute, denying Nigeria the ultimate glory.
Despite the disappointment in the final, Nigeria’s journey to the pinnacle was remarkable, especially considering the early setback of losing two group stage matches under former coach Jean-Louis Gasset.
However, it was Ivory Coast that ultimately emerged victorious, clinching their third continental title and etching their name in history as the first host nation to claim victory since Egypt in 2006.