Ebuehi: Our loss is Nigeria’s gain – Dutch coach Koeman

Mazino Dickson

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Coach of the Dutch national team Ronald Koeman, has criticised the Dutch Football Association (FA) for not doing enough to keep young full-back Tyreone Ebuehi from pledging his international allegiance to Nigeria.

He said this after watching  Ebuehi’s five-star performance for ADO Den Haag against giants Ajax of Amsterdam in a Dutch Eredivisie match at the Amsterdam arena.

The match ended goalless.

Koeman was very impressed by Ebuehi’s all-round game, particularly his man-marking of Ajax poacher Justin Kluivert, son of Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert.

“He played in a big stadium, against Ajax, that everyone was watching him and took care of the message. He knew that all the attention was focused on him and survived in a very complicated situation.

“He’s a very talented kid. He has speed and intelligence. He was good against Ajax, especially against Kluivert, who is a very technical player.

” I remember just a dribble from Justin. Justin is very fast, Ebuehi managed to catch up and lock Justin. We did not see Kluivert during the whole game, so we can say that he did a great job,” Koeman said.

Born in the Netherlands to a Nigerian father and Dutch mother, Tyreone Ebuehi pledged his allegiance to Nigeria in 2017 after eagles defender William Troost-Ekong convinced him to swap the “oranje jersey” for the green-white-green colours.

“It is something new. Being an international player is what everybody dreams of. I am just blessed and really happy to be a part of the team. The opportunity to play for Nigeria is a big step in my career, I’m just 21 years old, I just started. Of course William (Troost-Ekong) was an important person who helped me come to Nigeria. He told me positive things about the country so that was why I also made the decision to play for Nigeria. I believe 100 per cent it’s the best step to take,” he said after switching to his fatherland.

He made his debut against Togo in a 3-0 friendly win on 1 June 2017.

Ebuehi became the toast of Nigerian fans when he came in as a substitute in a friendly match played in Russia in November, which Nigeria came from two-goals down to thrash Argentina 4-2 .

His shackling of Argentine winger Di Maria marked him out as a top-quality full back, hence it was no surprise when Portuguese giants Benfica signed him for next season.