The Super Eagles of Nigeria will return to the biennial showpiece in Egypt later this month after missing the last two editions and Brighton & Hove Albion defender Leon Balogun said that there would have been an outrage if Nigeria had failed to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The West Africans qualified for the tournament in Egypt as their group winners ahead of South Africa, Libya and Seychelles with 13 points from six matches.
Prior to that, Nigeria missed the last two editions of the AFCON and have not appeared on the continental stage since their triumph in 2013.
During the qualifying round, Balogun played a significant role in Gernot Rohr’s team and he has reflected on how crucial their progress was for the entire country.
“We’ve qualified for this summer’s African Cup of Nations, which is the most important thing because we failed to qualify for the previous two tournaments – having been winners in 2013,” Balogun told Brighton official website.
“There would have been an outrage if we hadn’t qualified again; we are a nation of 200 million people and although we have our problems, football brings everyone together and so we have a responsibility beyond football.”
The Super Eagles will be making their 18th AFCON appearance in Egypt later this month and they have paired against Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar in Group B.
Ahead of their friendly match against Zimbabwe, Rohr has hinted that Balogun is among the players that will play at the Stephen Keshi Stadium tomorrow.