Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun shed tears of joy Saturday as Nigeria earned the much needed three points in the tie against hard fighting Chipolopolo of Zambia to earn a ticket to the world Cup in Russia.
Balogun immediately after the final whistle sort the shoulders of his captain John Obi Mikel in an emotional embrace.
FSV Mainz 05 of Germany defender was first called up by Nigeria for a March 2014 friendly against Mexico as a replacement for Joseph Yobo but was injured after 20 minutes in a collision with signage on the touchline. He however bounced back and played his second game for Nigeria in a 1-0 loss against Uganda on March 25 2015.
He played his third game for the country on 13 June 2015 when he featured in a 2–0 win over Chad in the opening game of qualifying for the 2017 African Nations Cup. But Saturday’s outing could pass as on the most crucial encounters the 29 year old had to play for Nigeria and it turned out to be a match that handed Nigeria a ticket to the world cup for the sixth time.
Though the Eagles failed to wrap up the match in the first half as many had hoped they team however came back in the second half to put up a good fight. Substitute and Arsenal forward turned out to be the decider of the day as his goal ended the anxiety to set up celebration platform.
In the other match of the group Cameroon handed Algeria a 2-0 defeat in Yaoundé to occupy the third place with 6 points.