Wednesday Mar 03, 2021. 13:00
Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr hopes Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo win the Scottish Premiership title with Rangers this season.
The two Nigeria internationals have been influential for the Gers, who have a 15-point gap at the top of the league table.
Rangers are seven points off being mathematically crowned champions and it would be their maiden league title since 2011.
Defender Balogun, who has 32 caps for Nigeria, has helped Rangers keep 12 clean sheets from 17 matches in the league thus far under manager Steven Gerrard this term.
“It would be great for our players – Balogun and Aribo – if Rangers won the title,” Rohr told Record Sport.
“We have been watching Rangers a lot and scouting all their games and there’s also Calvin Bassey and Nnamdi Ofoborh who is an Under-20 international who both have Nigerian roots so the challenge is there for them to join them.
“It is great that they are getting so much exposure and success at a club the size of Rangers and, as well as domestically, they have played at a very high level in Europe.”
“I played a friendly in Glasgow with Bordeaux and it was a full house – even for a friendly game – so I have good memories and I’m delighted they are getting to experience that, although Leon hasn’t yet had the chance to play in front of the fans,” he continued.
“Leon is one of the leaders in my group and I’m happy he has had success in European competition with Rangers. He is also one of my vice-captains, we have a young team in Nigeria and he is an experienced player which is vital.
“I’m very satisfied with Leon and Joe, particularly with the attitude of them both.”
Aribo, who has netted twice from six appearances for Nigeria, is a key midfielder for Rangers having netted six goals and provided four assists from 23 league games this season.
“Since I invited Joe Aribo to the squad we have had only good performances. He was, for us, an important player in the midfield with his left foot, mobility, commitment and fantastic mentality,” Rohr added.
“He can play as a defensive or offensive midfielder. Joe is good at pressing and immediately struck up a wonderful relationship with Alex Iwobi.
“Joe scored in his first game for Nigeria against Ukraine in September 2019 and was one of the best players so we’re happy to see him in full flow and fitness for Rangers.”
Balogun and Aribo are set to start for Rangers when they face Livingston in a league game on Wednesday.