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Africa Cup of Nations

Balogun: I bring some kind of German mentality and don’t regret choosing Nigeria

07:41 GMT 17/12/2021
Sampson Dweh, Leon Balogun, Liberia vs Nigeria
The 33-year-old Super Eagle reveals his happiness at playing for the West Africa nation and his plans for the Afcon tournament

Rangers defender Leon Balogun has maintained he does not regret playing for Nigeria ahead of country of birth Germany.

The 33-year-old defender, who was born in Berlin, West Germany to a Nigerian-Yoruba father and a German mother, opted to play for the West African nation ahead of the European country and he insists he does not have any reason to regret the decision.

“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?” Balogun posed a question to MTN Nigeria’s We Move With Super Eagles as quoted by allnigeriasoccer.

“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.”

On what he will bring to the Super Eagles ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament scheduled for Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, Balogun said: “Expectations are very high but for now I’m just happy and grateful for another big opportunity to face a big tournament with Nigeria.

“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.”

The former Brighton & Hove Albion and Wigan Athletic player further believes only teamwork will help the Super Eagle to perform well at the Afcon tournament.

“It's about the team, about the collective, the better we do as a collective, the better I can be,” Balogun continued.

“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.”

Balogun’s first appearance for Nigeria came in 2014 when he was called up for the friendly against Mexico as a replacement for Joseph Yobo. Balogun entered at half-time, but was injured after 20 minutes in a collision with signage on the touchline.

He played his second match on March 25, 2015, as Nigeria suffered a 1-0 defeat against Uganda and his third match was on June 13, 2015, when he featured in a 2-0 win over Chad in the opening game of qualifying for the 2017 African Nations Cup.

In Cameroon, Nigeria have been drawn in Group D alongside Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan and they will open their campaign with a game against the Pharaohs at Roumde Adjia Stadium on January 11.