Balogun on being branded strict by Super Eagles teammates, AFCON, choosing Nigeria over Germany

Published: December 17, 2021
Balogun on being branded strict by Super Eagles teammates, AFCON, choosing Nigeria over Germany
Glasgow Rangers star Leon Balogun has granted an interview to MTN Nigeria's We Move With Super Eagles, discussing his expectations for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, what he brings to the Super Eagles squad and choosing Nigeria over his country of birth Germany.

Barring an injury, Balogun is set to represent the Super Eagles in his third major tournament beginning from next month as he is guaranteed a roster spot along with Rangers teammate Joe Aribo.

Balogun has admitted that his outspoken nature has attracted criticism from some of his Super Eagles teammates.

"Expectations are very high but for now I'm just happy and grateful for another big opportunity to face a big tournament with Nigeria," Balogun said.

"I was invited at one point because Stephen Keshi saw quality in me and he believed in me and what I'm just trying to do is my best, giving my all always.

"I bring maybe some kind of German mentality in here. I know some of the lads sometimes they think I'm too strict and too vocal but that's just me and the game, it's never personal. It's just how I was raised in football."

Balogun called for teamwork ahead of the tournament in Cameroon, highlighting that no Super Eagles player can win a game by himself.

"It's about the team, about the collective, the better we do as a  collective, the better I can be.

"It's never about my own performance in particular. Of course I need to put in work and do my best and give in my all but I can't win a game alone, Ighalo can't win a game alone, Alex Iwobi can't win a game alone, it's all about the collective always.

"I think I've been very blessed and happy to play in a generation of the Super Eagles where we always have great unity.

"Of course I bring my own qualities but I'm happy that the team believes in me, that fans believe in me and I hope I can put more smiles on their faces."

Born in the German capital Berlin, Balogun explained why he has no regrets committing his international future to Nigeria over the four-time world champions.

"I've played a World Cup with Nigeria, I'm going to play AFCON with Nigeria, I have faced great teams with Nigeria so would you regret it?

"There is no point of me regretting anything. I'm super grateful and it's always a great experience to be here, I love the different vibe".

The 33-year-old Balogun is battling to be fit in time for the Africa Cup of Nations having missed the last seven games played by Rangers in all competitions.

Ifeanyi Emmanuel

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