Former Nigeria international, Christian Nwokocha, has said Leon Balogun should partner William Troost-Ekong in the central defence during the Super Eagles’ Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Uyo on Saturday.
Kenneth Omeruo stood in for Balogun in the Eagles’ first World Cup qualifying match against Zambia in Ndola, which Nigeria won 2-1 to go top of Group B. Injury kept Germany-based Balogun out of the match.
Former Sporting Lisbon forward Nwokocha told our correspondent that Omeruo should be benched against Algeria because of his schoolboy error, which Collins Mbesuma capitalised on to score a goal for Zambia in the Ndola match.
He said, “The match against Algeria will be tough for the Eagles and it will be more difficult if the Eagles’ defence is not solid enough.
“The Algerians have faster attackers than the Zambians and I believe that Balogun should return to the starting lineup in the place of Omeruo, because he has more composure than Omeruo.
“Balogun and Troost-Ekong played together a few times before the new coach came on board and they proved themselves.”
Nwokocha said Nigeria attackers should take every chance that comes their way in the match.
He said, “The match will not be one with many chances for both teams. As our defenders are busy stopping their attackers, our forwards should convert the chances created.”
Meanwhile, Troost-Ekong has ended his loan deal at Norwegian club Haugesund after helping them to a fourth-place finish in the Norwegian league.
The 23-year-old also made the Norwegian Premier League team of the season.
The defender was on-loan at Haugesund from Belgian side, Gent. Troost-Ekong scored four goals in the season for the Norwegian club.
Troost-Ekong was not in action for Haugesund as they held Stroemsgodset to a 1-1 draw at home on Sunday evening to guarantee their UEFA Europa league ticket for next season. They finished with 46 points after 30 matches.
“FK Haugesund it has been an amazing year. Top four finish and Europa League next season! I’m pleased to have made the Tippeligean team of the year 2016,” Troost-Ekong posted on Instagram.
“I want to say a big thank you to my teammates, staff and of course all the fans! I couldn’t be more proud to have been captain of such a great club.”