SV Mainz of Germany defender, Leon Aderemi Balogun has expressed worries over the ill effects injuries to key players could have on the Super Eagles’ chances of doing well at this year’s World Cup.
Balogun, who has himself been in and out of various injuries this season, acknowledged that knocks are sometimes inevitable to footballers, and prayed that the Eagles would not be depleted for the Mundial, but have all their players available.
The 29-year-old stopper, who got injured on his debut with the Eagles against Mexico in 2014, has 14 caps for Nigeria and hopes for the 15th on June 2 against England and versus Czech Republic on June 6.
He is also looking forward to being part of the final squad to Russia 2018, but opined that seeking glory at the global soccer showpiece goes beyond talent, quality and adequate preparations.
Balogun stressed that the x-factor often comes into play, and says the fitness of Nigeria’s players will be key to having a successful campaign this summer.
“We have a team capable of doing well in Russia and this team can perform to expectations if we have everyone in great shape.
“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.
“I was very unlucky to miss the last tournament in Brazil and we’ve seen changes since then, but we now have a good spirit going into the World Cup.
“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.
“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.
“We’ve enjoyed a good preparation so far and learning from our mistakes as well. These last three matches will give us a chance to get in the right place for the World Cup.”