6 September 2017

Nigeria: Leon Balogun - the New 'Gentle Giant' of Super Eagles

Photo: allafrica.com
2018 World Cup: Zambia close gap on Group B leaders Nigeria.

Leon Balogun can be best described as the new found impeccable Super Eagles defender who gave the Cameroonian Indomitable Lions strikers hard time to find the Nigeria net.

He reminds many of the days of ' The Gentle Giant' Okechukwu Uche, Austin Eguavon and Benedict Iroha all of the class of 1994 squad that made many Nigerians proud at the first ever World Cup appearance for the Eagles.

Born 28 June 1988, Balogun is a German-born Nigerian professional football defender who plays currently for 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the German Bundesliga.

He made his Bundesliga debut on 19 April 2009 for Hannover 96 in a game against Hamburger SV.

After his contract expired in summer 2014, he was without a club for three months until he joined Darmstadt 98. He signed a contract until the end of the 2014-15 season.

Born to a Nigerian father and German mother, Balogun was called up by Nigeria in March 2014 for a friendly against Mexico as a replacement for Joseph Yobo.

Balogun entered at the half but was injured after 20 minutes in a collision on the touchline. He fractured his foot and stayed away 2-3 months after surgery.

On 25 March 2015, he played his second game for Nigeria in a 1-0 loss against Uganda. He played his third game for the country on 13 June 2015 when he featured in a 2-0 win over Chad in the opening game of qualifying for the 2017 African Nations Cup.

Balogun has been instrumental in both the 4-0 win over Cameroon and the 1-1 in Yaounde in the Russia World Cup 2018 qualifiers of Africa Group B. His presence brings stability and assurance as wards off danger with such ease and expertise that reminds many soccer fans of Uche Okechukwu, the Gentle Giant.

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