Super Eagles defender says experience from 2018 World Cup will count in the future

Ekong is hopeful Nigeria's young team will learn from World Cup experience for future tournaments.

Ekong was part of the Super Eagles team that featured at the football fiesta in Russia and featured for 90 minutes in all three group stage games.

The Super Eagles crashed out of the tournament after a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina claimed a 2-1 victory in the last group encounter and proceed to the round of 16.

In a report by BBC Sport, Ekong revealed that the loss to Argentina was difficult but the team members will take a lesson from it useful in the future.

He said, "Everyone was just trying to deal with the loss and move on, so it was a quiet dressing room but definitely one that learnt a lot and hopefully formed some players."

Only players captain , Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Elderson Echiejile and Oganyi Onazi had World Cup experience before, at the 2014 edition, 13 more players have now participated at the highest level which Ekong believes will be beneficial for the team in the future.

He said, "This is what you need as a team.

"When you talk about that Argentinian team, that's a team that has experienced all levels, Croatia are the same while Iceland have played the Euros together.

"You need a tournament like this just to learn what it is like to play at this level, under this pressure, in front of the whole world.

"Hopefully by the next time we get to a World Cup, and if we can be part of that with all the players (who played in Russia), it will be nothing new to us and it might be easier for us to perform at a higher level."

The Super Eagles were the youngest team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Ekong revealed it could be a key factor in the coming years.

He said, "All of us are really down to earth and most of us are quite young.”

Gernot Rohr speaks on Super Eagles 2018 FIFA World Cup performance

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr also echoed Ekong’s views on the youthfulness of the team.

He said, "I think everyone has got great harmony, everyone wants to work for each other and if we can keep this up then it is definitely promising for the future."

"I think the future is for Nigeria because the spirit is wonderful, big solidarity and you see in these difficult moments how great the spirit the team is."

The Super Eagles will hope to bounce back when they travel away to take on Seychelles in their next 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Saturday, September 8.


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