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Balogun hailed at QPR and answers Nigeria critics but injury rules him out of Algeria clash

13:00 GMT+3 18/09/2022
Nigerian players reacts in disappointment after defeat, Leon Balogun.
The 34-year-old was set to play a part for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Algeria but is now injured

QPR manager Michael Beale has lauded the positive impact Nigeria centre-back Leon Balogun has had on the team in the past two matches.

However, Super Eagles fans will not see him in the international friendly against Algeria owing to an injury picked up this weekend. Valentine Ozornwafor of Sporting Charleroi, who is on loan at Sochaux, has taken his place.

The defender joined the Championship side from Rangers but had to prove his quality before getting his first start.

He was in the first XI team that defeated Millwall 2-0 on September 14 in the league outing. It was the first time the team had avoided conceding after failing to keep a clean sheet in the first seven matches.

On Saturday, the experienced defender got his second start as the London side registered a 0-0 draw against Stoke City.

His tactician publicly explained how the inclusion of the 34-year-old has helped his team improve defensively.

"Big credit goes to the team [for keeping two clean sheets in as many matches]; but obviously Balogun coming in is significant," Beale said after sharing the spoils with the Potters.

"His coming in has given us an experience and I am not going to say hope, because he won’t like that, but he is an experienced head in the back four. He has helped us become stronger in the last couple of games."

After collecting four points from their last two matches, the Hoops have climbed to the sixth position on the Championship table with 15 points from 15 matches.

Despite his recent exploits, Balogun has had to pay a hefty price. In communication to the public, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) confirmed the veteran defender has been replaced in Jose Peseiro's squad to play the North Africans in Oran.

"Update: Valentine Ozornwafor replaces injured Leon Balogun for Nigeria," NFF posted on their Twitter account.

The Super Eagles have further confirmed that fleet-footed forward Emmanuel Dennis of Watford will replace Henry Onyekuru. The latter was injured in his team Adana Demirspor’s 3-0 victory over Antalyaspor on Saturday in the Turkish top-tier game.