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Balogun won’t underrate Sierra Leone, plays down Eagles’ World Cup failure

SUPER Eagles defender Leon Balogun has told his teammates that Sierra Leone cannot be treated with kid gloves.

The two teams are due to clash on Thursday in Abuja in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and their last two meetings ended in draws.

The Leone Stars stunned the Super Eagles in a 2021 AFCON qualifier in Benin City, coming back from 4-0 down to tie the game 4-4.

The result in the reverse fixture was not as dramatic, but it was another draw in Freetown, this time goalless.

The Benin City clash in November 2020 was behind closed doors because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spectators will also not be allowed at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Thursday due to a ban that was imposed for the chaos that marred the World Cup playoffs against Ghana in March.

When reminded about the Sierra Leone results, especially the Benin City fightback, Balogun said his side must be ready this time.

“Yeah, but that’s in the past. There’s no point for me to revisit that,” the 33-year-old centre-back told reporters in Abuja.

“It’s a good reminder not to underrate any opposition, not to feel too comfortable during any match, but I think that should be a given anyway.

“And surely they’re going to come out with a different team, so I’m not too fussed about what happened two years ago.”

Balogun, who is a free agent after his contract with Rangers expired at the end of the season, added that he and his teammates have put the failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup behind them.

“I had to play in Scotland four days later; that’s just football really, it goes on,” he noted.

“You move on and there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself. Obviously it hurts, but you have to live with it.”

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Naija Times