Nigeria CB Leon Balogun has raised some critical issues about the administration of football in Nigeria, including the condition with the Super Eagles squad, criticizing the lack of professionalism.
Balogun spoke on the Nigeria Football Federation circus about the backlog of bonuses owed the Super Eagles stretching back 2019.
The 33 year-old revealed he had “taking the fall” for standing up for his teammates against the administrators and has been dubbed a “trouble maker”.
Speaking on “The Beautiful Game Podcast”, the 2019 AFCON bronze medal winner anticipates his vocal criticism could land him hot water with an intolerant Nigeria FA.
Excerpts of Balogun’s interview with “The Beautiful Game” Podcast:
You hear about other players and why can’t they not perform in the Super Eagles. We have to be honest, the infrastructure, we are not being provided with the best minerals to do our job.
It starts with pitches or it starts with accommodation but it goes on to pitches and all these kinds of things. And as I said I’m always quite outspoken, probably I know if some people hear that they might come after me but I don’t care because that’s just how it is.
If you say you want to see the next Messi coming out of Nigeria or the next Cristiano Ronaldo or whatsoever, if you want to see us so then you need to make sure that back home in Nigeria we have the best possibilities.
Like why don’t we have a base in Nigeria where we meet up like St. George’s park in England, we don’t really have something like that.
About the bonuses, it’s not even a secret, I’ve read something recently where people in charge contradict themselves saying things have been paid then they admit they haven’t been paid.
You know what everybody is so concerned about the look of Nigeria and we that we have to represent Nigeria well and we cannot embarrass Nigeria; make sure you’re not embarrassing Nigeria with your own action.
I think it’s also a matter of the culture, it’s a cultural thing to show respect in this kind of things, also that’s something where I clash probably because I’m not afraid to speak my mind even if it’s with the Coach or the Manager if I feel like something is wrong I might at one point just talk about it and then it’s always like this boy is a trouble maker.
I’m not a trouble maker, because at the end of the day I stand in for my teammates, I do that with pleasure and if I have to take the fall well, I probably did in the past.
But, it’s always also motivated by personal issues, by things that I just feel like, I don’t have to deal with this, I should not have to deal with this and I don’t think any of us should, there’s loads of work to do.