Super Eagles

Balogun: Eagles need to start playing ‘dirty’

Following the Super Eagles exit from the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia, Leon Balogun has called on teammates at the national team to approach future international games with a ‘dirty’ mindset.

Balogun, who was in action for the entirety of Nigeria’s appearances at the Mundial, believes the West Africans could have gotten the edge over Argentina in the Group D showdown if they had learnt the darker arts of the game.

The Eagles lost the encounter 2-1 with Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo netting the winner late in the game after Victor Moses had cancelled out Lionel Messi’s first half strike via a spot kick.

In an interview with BBC Sport,the Brighton and Hove Albion new signing noted that the team learnt valuable lessons from their participation at the competition and he is optimistic the team will hit the heights in the next edition.

“It’s always important when you play internationals to be a bit dirty,” he said.

“That’s what Argentina has, definitely, and you also need to be cold-blooded – that’s probably the most important (lesson from this World Cup).

“It will be very important to keep going the way we have started.

“We have experienced players, young players, talented players – and there are even more players that are not in the team yet – and we have to keep developing them and investing in their football education.

“We just have to keep working and keep our focus on advancing year after year and then in the next four years we will have a good team – maybe an even better one.”

Balogun made his debut for Nigeria in an international friendly with Mexico in June, 2017 but missed out of the West Africans’ World Cup squad due to a metatarsal fracture he suffered. He has since made 20 appearances for the three-time African champions.

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