The Nigeria international and Brighton & Hove Albion defender has asked critics and haters alike to shove their criticisms of him down any nearby trash-bin as no human is ‘perfect’.
The former Hamburg defender was at the centre of some harsh words and cruel insults from the Super Eagles fans, after their darling team lost unexpectedly on Sunday to Madagascar, a team ranked some 80 places below the former African champions
The 2-0 loss means Nigeria surrenders top spot in the group to the AFCON debutants.
Fans held Leon Balogun as the scape-goat after he misjudged a John Ogu pass, allowing an opposing attacker to steal the ball from his feet and grab the game’s opening goal. That costly error saw the Gernot Rohr-led side trailing inside the opening 13 minutes against a team ranked 108 by FIFA.
Unsurprisingly, disappointed fans went for the jugular of the ex-Werder Bremen strongman, blaming him for committing “school boy errors” and labeling him the “worst defender in the world”.
But the 31 year old has shaken of the effects of the humiliating loss, asking his critics to do the same. “You can love me or leave me, but I’m only human and I make mistakes. Try not to hold that against me, tho”, the defender tweeted from his official twitter page.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions, so if y’all expect me to be perfect, I apologize for being human. No mistakes too great to recover”, Balogun said.
Balogun has been one of Nigeria’s most reliable defenders since stepping into the large-size shoes left behind by former Super Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo. He has notably formed a seemingly impenetrable “Oyibo Wall” with teammate Troost Ekong and only recently starred alongside Omeruo, at the heart of the defence in a crucial 1-0 win over Guinea, thereby helping Nigeria to be the first team to book her place in the knock-out stage of the AFCON.
However, it appears like his past performances for the country have not been so easily forgotten with a fan replying Balogun that “your sin has been forgotten, go and sin no more.”
The Super Eagles are expecting the return of centre-half Troost Ekong from injury to shore up Gernot Rohr’s defensive options for the crucial game against Cameroon in the next round of the championships.