Balogun focused on qualification, not Ghana rivalry – TrendyNewsReporters

Balogun focused on qualification, not Ghana rivalry

Ahead of the crucial World Cup play-off between Nigeria and Ghana, Super Eagles defender, Leon Balogun, says he is not bothered by the rivalry between the two countries but wants to ensure that his side qualifies for the biggest football showpiece in the world.

Nigeria travel to Kumasi on Wednesday (today) for the first leg of their mouth-watering encounter against the Black Stars on Friday, before hosting their archrivals four days later at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

Eagles head coach Austin Eguavoen invited 32 players with the list expected to be pruned to 23 before their departure to Ghana.

The rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana is among the oldest in African football, which reflects the long-standing socio-economic relationship between the two nations

Heading into Friday’s game, the Blacks Stars have an edge over the Eagles, with Otto Addo’s side winning 21 games, drawing 18, and losing 10.

However, speaking ahead of the game, Glasgow Rangers center-back Balogun said he was not bothered about the long-standing rivalry, but focused on helping Nigeria qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

“I try to leave the rivalry pretty much aside, that’s not saying I don’t respect it but personally, in my preparation, it doesn’t matter so much because for me it’s about where do I want to go with the team that’s the World Cup. So, it happens that we play against Ghana,” the Rangers defender said in an interview with the Eagles media team.

“Yes there’s the rivalry, and I know it’s of huge importance outside and within football with the fans and everything but I try to leave that to them (fans) and try to do my best and work on the pitch.

“This kind of derby is big and demands a different kind of character.”

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