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South Africa v Nigeria

Sofoluwe backs Balogun to shine against South Africa despite limited Brighton chances

01:02 GMT+4 15/11/2018
Nigeria vs. Iceland - Leon Balogun, Francis Uzoho
The 30-year-old has only featured twice since his switch to the English top-flight but the former defender has no fear about his form

Former Nigeria defender Yisa Sofoluwe has thrown his weight behind Leon Balogun to impress against South Africa despite his limited playing time at Brighton and Hove Albion.

The defender has made just two appearances for the English Premier League side since he arrived at the Falmer Stadium in the summer from Mainz 05.

And despite the limited chances, the defender has continued to partner William Troost-Ekong at the heart of the Super Eagles' defence ahead of Leganes’ Kenneth Omeruo and other players who feature regularly for their clubs.

However, the 50-year-old is confident that the failure of Balogun to secure regular playing time with the Seagulls will not affect his performance against Bafana Bafana in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at FNB Stadium.

“It doesn’t matter I believe Leon is a good player for the fact that he has not been playing regularly in his club cannot affect his performance for the Super Eagles at least he trains with the rest of the team,” Sofoluwe told Goal.

“At least he is not injured, so not playing often for his club does not mean he will not be able to play well against South Africa.

“The coach knows his ability that is why he has invited him. He is a player we know very well, he is not a new player in the team.

"If the coach knows he cannot play he will not invite him. So the coach knows he is still a good player. The person you know is better that untested players you don’t know at all.”

Nigeria top Group E with nine points from four games and a win against South Africa will secure their place in Cameroon next year, having missed out in the last two editions of the tournament.