Super Eagles’ defender, Leon Balogun has described Sunday’s 0-2 loss to the Barea of Madagascar as a wake up call, saying that the players have resolved to rise up from their slumber and do the nation proud at the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
A goal in the 13th minute of the first half through a costly error by Balogun and another goal in the 53rd minute of the second half from a free-kick outside Nigeria’s 18-yard box, gave Madagascar victory and leadership of Group B.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Balogun, who said his consolation was the fact that the country had already qualified for the next stage of the competition, added that sometimes such defeats happen in world football, even to big teams.
“Normally, what we, the players, talked about the match stays in the dressing room. But I can tell you all the players have agreed that this was a wake up call (today) and I am happy with the fact that we had qualified already because that should be our focus.
“We had a bad day, but we tried our best. It just didn’t work and you can’t really blame anyone. What happened was that Madagascar was the better team and they won.
“This is one of the things that happen in football. It has happened to the best teams of the world, to the best players.
“We have a match probably against Ghana in the next round of the tournament and there is a chance to make up and if we do well, we are going to advance to the quarter finals and beat everyone. The thing is that we have to be ready and prepare very well and perform better than we did against Madagascar no matter the team we will meet,” he said.
The Brighton & Hove Albion defender assured Nigerians that the Eagles would put up a good fight against their next opponents, added, “We shouldn’t be worried about who we will face, but we should just be focused no mater who the opposition is,” he stated.