Torunarigha targets Super Eagles glory in line with father’s legacy

Torunarigha targets Super Eagles glory in line with father’s legacy
Credit: Icon Sport

New invitee Jordan Torunarigha has expressed his desire to record success in the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup with the Super Eagles

The Gent centre-back is keen to carry on his father’s legacy by donning the jersey of the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the upcoming tournaments starting with the AFCON next year. 

The former Hertha Berlin man could play a part for Nigeria in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in November and at the continental championship in Ivory Coast.

The 26-year-old defender, who made his first appearance for the Nigerian national team in their 3-2 victory over Mozambique last week, described the feeling as a ‘very special’ one.

‘It was a very special moment' – Torunarigha

Torunarigha, who came through the German youth teams and played in the 2020 Olympic Games with them, has now committed his future to Nigeria.

The defender, who was in coach José Peseiro’s starting lineup for the win over Mozambique, played 75 minutes before he was replaced by Calvin Bassey.

Reflecting on his debut, Torunarigha told Transfermarkt, “It was a very special moment and I’m really proud. Nigeria is a team with many top players and great characters that you enjoy being on the pitch with.

“We won, that’s always the most important thing. We would have liked to keep a clean sheet, but it was fun on the field. I hope the coach and my teammates were happy.”

Torunarigha comes from a family that has made a name for itself in the Super Eagles. His father, Ojokojo, represented the Super Eagles twelve times during his playing career and the emerging Super Eagles star acknowledged his family’s significant role in his football journey.

“Of course, we talked a lot about the topic before the nomination. My dad and my whole family are very proud and happy,” he said. 

“They were there when I was first invited by Nigeria and will continue to support me in the future. If I need advice from my dad, he’s always there for me.”

“I have two big goals with Nigeria: the Africa Cup of Nations next year and the World Cup in 2026. I will and we will give everything for that.”

With the likes of William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, and Leon Balogun reaching the twilight of their career, Torunarigha will be looking to be a mainstay of the team in the coming tournaments and years to come. 

Torunarigha, Nigeria’s second most valuable central defender according to Transfermarkt, will look to be a part of the Super Eagles squad for the 2023 AFCON that kicks off in January.

In addition, the defender, who has valuable experience playing in the Belgian top flight and the Europa Conference League, will be hoping coach Jose Peseiro considers him in the final selection process.

Nigeria, who have reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup finals on three occasions, must overcome the challenge of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Benin Republic, Lesotho, and Rwanda to reach the next finals to be staged in the USA, Mexico and Canada in 2026.

Meanwhile, Nigeria have been placed in Group A of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire alongside the hosts, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. 

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

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