TimeTestedNews |Rangers ace receives int’l snub, now set to miss AFCON

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Rangers’ Leon Balogun has been brushed aside by Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro before next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, according to Daily Record.

The experienced centre-back has been capped 46 times for his national team but has been shunned for Nigeria’s 40-man squad before it is whittled down to just 27 players by 3 January.

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The 35-year-old has been in and out of the national side over the past few years, but there is no room for the centre-half in Peseiro’s squad at all.

It will be good news for Philippe Clement, though, who could already be without attacking duo Cyriel Dessers and Abdallah Sima. The latter is Rangers’ top scorer this season, scoring 14 goals in 29 appearances.

However, Dessers could still yet be dismissed from the Nigeria team, with a whole host of attacking talent filling the international team’s roster.

Despite having the potential to be one of the most experienced minds in the squad, Balogun’s inability to secure a long-term spell at any club throughout his 15-year senior career has kept him from keeping a permanent spot at international level.

But his leadership skills for the Gers have been vital for the likes of Connor Goldson, John Souttar, Ben Davies, and even young prospect Leon King. It seems a little silly to leave him out of AFCON altogether.

However, Balogun’s injury history may have made Peseiro’s decision for him, with the defender missing several games due to different injuries, especially during his two-year loan spell at Ibrox between July 2020 and June 2022.

His lack of game time is also a concern, having only completed eight full 90 minutes this season for the Gers. Despite his seniority, he has been a back-up for most of the season so far and could be a big risk for Nigeria if he takes up a space in the national team.