Balogun calls on Super Eagles to be dirtier
As the dust continues to settle on Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup campaign, it’s important to take a look at what could be done differently when looking ahead to the squad’s future. While they undoubtedly did themselves proud in the final two games of the group stages, there are certain things that could be singled out when brainstorming what could be done differently in other tournaments in the next few years. Some may argue that all you need is a surge of momentum and some luck when in reality, there are undeniable factors that can lead to the success or failure of any given international team. Nigeria’s own Leon Balogun, who was a part of the Super Eagles squad in Russia, believes that he has the answer.
The defender, who turned 30 just a few days ago, has been bouncing around clubs in Germany for the better part of a decade – but now, he’s managed to land himself a move to Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls did well to avoid relegation during their first season back in the big time, and as the preparations continue for the 2018/19 campaign, manager Chris Hughton will be doing everything within his power to ensure that they can avoid the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’. Regarding Balogun, however, he has been making some interesting comments whilst reflecting on Nigeria’s time at the World Cup. Leon believes that it’s vitally important to play somewhat dirty football in big international games, claiming that’s what Argentina did – and it’s one of the reasons why they were successful in their encounter.
Others have also noted that Argentina didn’t conduct themselves in the best manner, with Javier Mascherano being singled out as one of the key culprits in their side. Balogun also believes that, as a squad, they need to focus on improving on a year by year basis as they have a talented team full of young stars as well as experienced heads. Nigeria won’t be back in international action for a few more months yet as they gear up for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, which are set to resume in September. Prior to that, however, Balogun will be making his way to England where he prepares for his first taste of English football in the Premier League with Brighton. His new club will kick off their 2018/19 season on August 11th when they face Watford.