Rohr backs Nigerian duo for Scottish title


Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is hoping Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo will win the Scottish Premiership title with Glasgow Rangers.

The duo is just two wins away from clinching the title with the Scottish giants, who have totally dominated the domestic scene this season. Rangers comfortably sit at the top of the log standings with 82 points from 30 games played.

Speaking to Record Sport, Rohr expressed his excitement at the prospect of two of his players getting a gold medal at the end of the campaign.

“It would be great for our players, Balogun and Aribo if Rangers won the title.

“We have been watching Rangers a lot and scouting all their games and there’s also Calvin Bassey and Nnamdi Ofoborh who is an Under-20 international who both have Nigerian roots so the challenge is there for them to join them.

“It is great that they are getting so much exposure and success at a club the size of Rangers and, as well as domestically, they have played at a very high level in Europe.

“I played a friendly in Glasgow with Bordeaux and it was a full house even for a friendly game. so I have good memories and I’m delighted they are getting to experience that, although Leon hasn’t yet had the chance to play in front of the fans.

“I have known Balogun for a very long time. He has a German mentality and has good speed which is very important for a central defender or full-back as he can play both positions.

“There is no difference for Leon Balogun playing at right-back for Rangers just now because he’s played there before, for Nigeria and in Germany sometimes.

“He’s quick and intelligent and can change his position very quickly. For me, he’s strong enough to play either position. In the 2018 World Cup, he played at the right of a three-man central defence so he’s is not quite a right back.

“I watched him playing in Germany for Mainz before I joined the Nigerian national team so I knew all about the boy. He was born in Germany and speaks German so we have a good relationship.

“Leon has a very good character and self-confidence and I was happy when he moved to Glasgow Rangers because he didn’t play enough in England.

“Leon is one of the leaders in my group and I’m happy he has had success in European competition with Rangers. He is also one of my vice-captains, we have a young team in Nigeria and he is an experienced player which is vital.”

The German manager continued to explain how important it was for him to recruit Joe Aribo who has come into the national team and made a huge impact.

“I’m very satisfied with Leon and Joe, particularly with the attitude of them both. Since I invited Joe Aribo to the squad we have had only good performances. He was, for us, an important player in the midfield with his left foot, mobility, commitment and fantastic mentality.

“He can play as a defensive or offensive midfielder. Joe is good at pressing and immediately struck up a wonderful relationship with Alex Iwobi.

“Joe scored in his first game for Nigeria against Ukraine in September 2019 and was one of the best players so we’re happy to see him in full flow and fitness for Rangers.”

Rangers face Livingston on Wednesday night as they inch closer to glory. The duo will also be involved as Nigeria take on Siera Leone and Lesotho later this month.

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By Prince Sobayeni 

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