The two West-African giants are set to do battle, and Balogun is ready to ensure a smooth flight for the Super Eagles
Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has revealed that he is not interested in the rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria. Rather, he is only concerned with helping the Super Eagles beat the Black Stars and clinch the World Cup ticket.
The Super Eagles square off against their West-African counterparts for a chance to represent the continent at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
For both teams, the game is a significant one. Asides from the World Cup ticket, pride is at stake for even the citizens of both Nations.
The derby is one of the toughest on the continents in terms of rivalry, as in their 49 meetings, Ghana have defeated Nigeria 21 times, against Nigeria’s 10 victories while 18 games have ended in a draw.
However, Balogun is the least concerned about the rivalry, as his only aim is to ensure that Nigeria qualifies for Qatar.
“I try to leave the rivalry pretty much aside without saying that I don’t respect it,” Balogun told NFF TV.
“For me, the rivalry does not matter too much, it’s about where I want to go with the team, and that’s the World Cup.
“So it happens that we play against Ghana. Yes, there’s that rivalry; I know there’s huge importance outside of football and also inside football with the fans. But I’ll try to leave that to them and do my best and work on the pitch.
“This kind of derbies, they are big, they demand a special kind of character, and I think I can bring that. But I do not need to voice it in any type of way outside of the pitch because, ultimately, you should give the right answers on the pitch. For myself and my country,” he added.
With his return to the team, it might be the first time that the ‘oyibo wall’ (Troost-Ekong, and Balogun) would play together under Augustine Eguavoen.