Leon Balogun has acknowledged the role football plays in uniting Nigeria and assures he will always give 100℅ playing for the Super Eagles, reports Completesports.com.
The Super Eagles head into this month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations looking to win a fourth continental title.
Having been winners the last time out – 2013 in South Africa, the Super Eagles despite the glut of talented individuals in the team, failed to qualify for the last two editions of the competition.
“We’ve qualified for this summer’s African Cup of Nations, which is the most important thing because we failed to qualify for the previous two tournaments – having been winners in 2013,” Balogun told Brighton & Hove Albion official website.
“There would have been an outrage if we hadn’t qualified again; we are a nation of 200 million people and although we have our problems, football brings everyone together and so we have a responsibility beyond football.”
Balogun joined Brighton last summer after running out his contract with German club FSV Mainz.
He however struggled for regular playing time with the Seagulls, making only eight Premier League appearances with a goal to his name.
The centre-back admits it was tough sitting on the sidelines for most of the season but assures he will work hard to earn starting roles in the team.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s never easy, but as I said, you always have to be ready to play. All I can do is show my levels in training on a consistent basis, which I think I have done, and what that has done is also force those two to up their games as well – that’s been my way of contributing to the team even when I’m not playing,” Balogun added.
“That’s been a positive because for me, the team always comes first. It’s not nice to be on the bench, but I’m experienced enough to deal with that and there are other areas where you can help, maybe as a mentor to the younger players and to encourage the whole team in the dressing room. Whatever position I’m in, whether I’m on the pitch or on the bench, I always give it 100 per cent.”
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