Leon Balogun says, Nigeria winning World Cup depends on players’ fitness

Leon Balogun

Leon Balogun stated that Nigeria’s World Cup hopes in Russia is dependent on the players’ fitness.

The Mainz 05 defender has missed his side’s last three games while Leicester City’s powerhouse Wilfred Ndidi is currently struggling with a hamstring injury and Torino’s midfielder Joel Obi is also in a race to be fit for the showpiece.

“We have a team capable of doing well in Russia and this team can perform to expectations if we have everyone in great shape,” Balogun told BBC Sport.

“As a professional, you don’t think so much about getting injured or avoiding it, you just give everything on the pitch for club and country.

“I know injuries come with football and if we are very lucky not have it, then all the players in Nigerian colours have the spirit to fight for success until the end.

“Many players will be going for the first time and ready to shine on the biggest stage for football. It’s the dedication and passion that drives us as a team.

Nigeria will have to navigate their way past Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in Group D as they hope to surpass their previous performances in the tournament.

And the former Werder Bremen man is confident that Gernot Rohr’s men have the ability to do well in the tourney provided they stay clear of injury.

“Some so-called big teams will also miss players due to injuries but we can only hope for the best and go to Russia with the same spirit we have now.”

The three times African Champions have played three high profile friendlies with Argentina, Poland and Serbia. They will also trade tackles with DR Congo on May 28 and England on June 2 before the World Cup.

“We’ve enjoyed a good preparation so far and learning from our mistakes as well,” he continued.

“These last three matches will give us a chance to get in the right place for the World Cup.”

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