Juju and other Reasons Why Nigeria lost WC ticket to Ghana – Balogun


Nigerian fans will be feeling hard done by the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar as many will remember the day Nigeria lost to Ghana – on the away goal rule – after playing a 1-1 draw as the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

Nigeria failed to find that winning goal and it’s a bitter experience that Super Eagles Defender Leon Balogun said he will not forget in an hurry.

In a chat on The Beautiful Game YouTube podcast, Balogun blamed the inability of the team to find the back of the net in the first leg, claiming that the whole scenario would have been different had they scored in Ghana.

He also claims that he still doesn’t understand why the away goal rule still stands in Africa after it was cancelled everywhere else.

Balogun also suggested that the team were disorganized by the antics of Ghana, to change the venue last minute and even suggested they might have used black magic (Juju).

“It’s the first leg, we did not score, that would have changed the whole picture probably.

“It’s a bit funny because that season the away goal rule was scrapped everywhere. I don’t know why they didn’t do it in Africa. I have no clue, until this day I don’t understand.

“We did go to Ghana to play that first leg and it was a tough game. There was this whole fuss about them changing the stadium last minute where they’ve never lost, and they said whether juju may or may not have been involved”

He also highlighted the mentality of the coaching staff claiming that they seemed contented with the goalless draw away to Ghana.

“It was really, really tough and we ended up playing 0-0. I remember we had a meeting one or two days after and one of the staff said we’re 70 percent through and I thought to myself that can’t be right.

“We played a goalless draw away from home, if that’s helpful to anyone then it’s Ghana. We said we have to just pour our hearts out for that game.”

Balogun admitted that massive support of the fans made it a more bitter pill to swallow, and it was more heartbreaking to have lost the world-cup ticket in front of the fans.

“Driving to the stadium on that day I was holding back tears because I was touched by the support. I’ve played with great support, I’m not trying to be disrespectful to any other place we’ve played with the national team before but Abuja that day was packed.”

“I saw little boys, girls, families, elders, everybody rooting for us. The stadium was packed, it was unreal and I said to myself just for them we have to make it.

“Obviously it was heartbreaking when we conceded that first goal, it was a tough one to take, came back with a penalty, we couldn’t just break them down.

“We had a few chances but nothing really that got to shock them. In the end you have to say Ghana probably deserved it because we came hard for them.”

“Second half they changed their shape and that was pretty much what took a bit of the wind out of us.”

Meanwhile, Morocco are the only African team still in the tournament after they advanced to the quarter-finals courtesy of a 3-nil penalty shootout Victory over Spain.

Ghana crashed out in the group stages, finishing bottom of Group H.


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