Nigeria received a timely boost ahead of their World Cup opening game against Croatia on Saturday when reliable centre back Leon Balogun was passed fit for the game on the morning of match day.
Balogun was reported to have missed training on Wednesday and Thursday due to an injury and was initially ruled out of the Group D game. Head coach Gernot Rohr disclosed to the press yesterday that the Germany born defender has a chance to play, rating him at 50-50.
According to Rohr: "Leon Balogun is 50-50 and we can only be sure tomorrow".
— ACLSports (@acl_sports) June 15, 2018
The centre back has now passed a late fitness test and is expected to start alongside his fellow Europe-born central defence partner, William Troost-Ekong in continuation of their famed ‘Oyibo Wall’.
The news of Balogun’s fitness brings huge relief to the Nigerian camp who would have been robbed of a trusted star whose injury record has not given them high hopes.
With Balogun and Troost-Ekong at centre back, Nigeria have never lost a competitive game. The Eagles will hope for the run to continue in Russia.
Saturday’s match will kick-off at 9pm local time and 8pm in Nigerian at the Kaliningrad Stadium.
Predicted Nigeria lineup
Abdullahi Shehu, Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Brian Idowu;
Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenekaro Etebo;
Alex Iwobi, John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses;