BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Two members of the Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles have birthdays today. They are the coach, Gernot Rohr and Leon Balogun. Coincidentally, both have common bond. They were born in Germany!
Rohr was born this date 67 years ago in Mannheim in the southwestern part of Germany. Balogun on the other hand was born in West Berlin 32 years ago today. He has not featured for the Super Eagles since the Africa Cup of Nations last year.
Incidentally, both birthday boys sometimes have ‘heated’ exchanges. According to a report on Brila Radio earlier this year, Balogun remarked that he sometimes challenged coach Gernot Rohr when standing up for his teammates, insisting he does this for the overall good of the team.
Balogun while speaking to his fans on Instagram, revealed that since his teammates knew he could speak German like Rohr, he’s the natural choice when the team want to speak to the manager on a training schedule.
“I do challenge the coach sometimes, it helps that we both speak German. Sometimes, when the discussions are heated, the other players will say ‘this Balogun is crazy oh’, but it’s all for the good of the team and constructive.
“Other times players like (Odion) Ighalo might come to me and say, Balogun go and talk to your German father now, when the players want to change or to try something.”
In the past three years, Rohr’s birthday had always coincided with Super Eagles in action. Last year, the team was involved at the Africa Cup of Nations when Rohr clocked 66. Two years ago, he had his 65th birthday at the Essentuki Team Base Camp during the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Three years ago the fun of his birthday was dampened by an earlier 2-0 defeat of the Super Eagles in the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for the 2019 finals.