Monday, June 27, 2022

Eagles begin training, injury knocks Balogun out of South Africa game

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Injured Super Eagles’ defender, Leon Balogun is out of Nigeria’s friendly games against Corsica and Togo, as well as the African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa.PHOTO: AFP

The Super Eagles are ready to take on Corsica. Ordinarily, a game against the European team, which is not even affiliated to world football governing body, FIFA, should not draw such massive interest as this has. But so many things are involved in this particular match, which holds on May 26.

First, most of the players in camp are fringe players in the national team, who want to use the games against Corsica and Togo to sell their skills to Super Eagles’ Coach, Gernot Rohr.

There is also the added thrill in the number of young and talented players from European clubs, who will be presenting their games to Nigerians for the first time during these friendlies. And of course, it is the Super Eagles, a team that elicits so much interest from potential opponents no matter the quality of opposition confronting them.

Reports from France said about 12 players have already arrived at the team’s Best Western Hotel, Ajaccio Amiraute camp.Among the players are the home-based quartet of Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Alhassan Ibrahim, Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun, who departed Nigeria last night, accompanied by coach Salisu Yusuf.

The Europe-based stars in camp are Tyronne Ebuehi, Uche Agbo, Elderson Echiejile, Chidozie Awaziem, Oghenekaro Etebo, William Troost-Ekong, Henry Onyekuru and Dele Alampasu.

Meanwhile, Mainz have confirmed that defender Leon Balogun will miss the Eagles’ training camp in Corsica and Paris, as well as the African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa.

The right back had to be substituted in the 18th minute of Mainz’s 2-0 loss to Cologne on the final day of the season last Saturday.The 28-year-old has pulled out of the Nigeria squad for their games against Corsica (May 26), Togo (June 1) and an African Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa.Balogun started 13 games for Mainz in the just concluded season, while he made four appearances off the bench in the top flight.

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