Leon Balogun will play in the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers contrary to earlier reports that he might be dropped due to how he criticized the Nigeria Football Federation.
Recall that in July 2021, the 33-year-old Rangers of Scotland defender revealed in an interview that the Nigeria FA was owing the Super Eagles players match bonuses and that they were not given proper facilities.
“It starts with pitches or it starts with accommodation but it goes on to pitches and all these kinds of things”, Balogun told “The Beautiful Game Podcast”.
“About the bonuses, it’s not even a secret, I’ve read something recently where people in charge contradict themselves saying things have been paid then they admit they haven’t been paid.”
Though the Nigeria FA reacted to the interview by admitting that the FA was owing to the players some match bonuses, most fans of the Super Eagles thought Leon Balogun would be witch-hunted by the FA.
Hence, when the official Instagram page of the Super Eagles released a picture from the team’s training camp on Monday, August 30, and Leon Balogun was not seen among the players, followers of the page began to criticize the FA for dropping the defender over his comments against the FA.
The fan’s reaction to the picture came even though the defender was part of the 30-man list the head coach of the team, Gernot Rohr released earlier in August.
Amid the attack against the Nigeria FA for allegedly dropping Leon Balogun, the Super Eagles official Instagram page shared a picture showing the defender’s arrival to Nigeria to honor the invitation of coach Rohr.
The 33-year-old defender arrived in Nigeria on Monday night for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Liberia on Friday, September 3, and away against Cape Verde on Tuesday, September 7.
Balogun arrived in Nigeria alongside three other Super Eagles players – William Troost Ekong, Tyronne Ebuehi, and Ola Aina.
Later on Tuesday evening, August 31, 2021, the Super Eagles Instagram page shared pictures of the Tuesday training session and highlighted the face of Balogun to confirm that the defender has fully settled in.
He is expected to play against Liberia on Friday at Taslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos but he might not play the away match against Cape Verde on Tuesday because the country is on the Coronavirus red list of a couple of European countries especially the United Kingdom.
Players like Alex Iwobi of Everton, Wilfred Ndidi, and Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City; and Oghenekaro Etebo of Watford are among the players that might miss the away game against Cape Verde due to the coronavirus restrictions against the country.