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A conversation with: William Troost-Ekong

January 15, 2024

William Troost-Ekong playing in his green Nigeria kit in the first game of the African Cup of Nations

We spoke with Nigeria captain William Troost-Ekong about his role in the team in the lead up to the Africa Cup of Nations, the impact that football can have on the world, and Sokito’s upcoming boot.

Will in a snapshot:
- Captain of Nigeria
- Played for Watford
- Common goal member
- Donates a % of his wage to charitable causes
- Volunteers for the Red Cross
- Offset the carbon of his Salernitana transfer
- Drives an electric car

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The Interview

We’ve never seen any footballer who gives up so much of their time to support charitable causes. Why do you have such a drive inside of you to use your platform for good?

I think I've become very aware of the platform that [footballers] have. The amount of people that are willing to listen to us, you can really get people to start asking questions. I'm now turning the tender age of 30 which, in the football world, is reasonably old. I want to make the most of my time with the reach that I have. On the top

of that, from a more human side, I've got three young children and I'd love to think that they'd be able to enjoy all the things I have been able to enjoy. For them to be able to do those things we need to make changes now, so that's my main driving force and I'm willing to invest all my time and resources available to do so.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and you are the national team captain: how do you handle the responsibility of representing so many people?

For me, Nigeria is my biggest pride. To live your dream of being able to represent your country on the world stage, being able to lead the country as a team captain on several occasions, is something that means so much to me. It’s probably the crown jewel of my modest career. So I think not only being able to represent my fellow teammates but also the people of Nigeria is a huge responsibility, something that doesn't come easy. It's taught me to be a lot more open-minded and more considerate of everyone.

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How has your experience as a captain changed the way you see the world?

Because football is sometimes like a mini-world, a micro-environment, in which you always have to try and consider everyone, no matter their importance or stature within a team: I think that is a great reflection of the world as well. We have to be mindful of everyone. You have to think of everyone involved and also how much it means for everyone to be progressive. So that's the responsibility of being captain for Nigeria. That's something that I love doing and I've had some beautiful moments representing Nigeria on the world stage, World Cup, AFCON, Olympics. And having been able to make a lot of people proud is the most special thing.

When did you realise things in football needed to change

I quickly realised football was way behind when I started to make some changes in my personal life. I was trying to make eco-friendly choices for myself, but being in and around the training ground, stadium, and football in general, made me think about how we could change the industry as a whole.

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Why have you chosen to support Sokito?

I chose to support Sokito just because I was interested in different ways that we could improve football, and I found that Sokito lined up with those values. They are very forward-thinking and open-minded in trying to think of new, creative ways to make changes. For example, with my transfer where they thought of different ways to offset the carbon. So yeah, I love the way that Sokito is forward-thinking, open-minded and ahead of its time.

How would you convince someone to switch to Sokito?

I would like to think that seeing the football boots themselves, the quality, would be convincing enough for anyone to support Sokito by wearing the boots. I think for me it has been a journey of discovery and understanding what changes we can make and how, as players, we can be involved. But even as amateur players or football fanatics that want to just make some changes in the way that they enjoy and love the sport, you quickly find that Sokito has many solutions to those problems. So that was, for me, the easiest way to be convinced, and I'm sure that will be the same for anyone else.

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How does the feel/comfort of the boot match your style of football?

I think that the best part of it all is that for me it's been a seamless change. It's an easy switch because the comfort is there and the quality is there. I barely needed to make any adjustments. Like most footballers, I was so used to playing on one boot brand, which can be hard to change because

we’re quite particular (and superstitious) about what we play in. But because the feeling and performance was the same, it felt like the obvious choice to wear a football boot that actually makes a difference in the world.

What do you think of Sokito’s new boot: the Scudetta?

I’m really excited about the new boots coming out this year: I’ll be one of the first people trying them out at Afcon, with a pair that have been specially designed for me in Nigeria’s colours. I’ve seen pictures and prototypes, so I already know I like them, but these are going to be some of the lightest boots on the market, so I’m really excited to see how they perform.

The Scudetta will be dropping in summer 2024.

Shop Will’s boot: Devista, Just White

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Author

Matilda Godson

January 15, 2024

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