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Afcon: Gernot Rohr to play Iheanacho and Balogun against Zimbabwe

5:30 AM EDT 6/5/19
Nigeria starting XI vs Seychelles
The Leicester striker and Brighton defender hardly featured for their clubs and will be given a chance to improve their match fitness

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has stated Leon Balogun, Kelechi Iheanacho and the other players who did not play regularly for their clubs will feature in their friendly game against Zimbabwe on Saturday.

Last season, Balogun was limited to 10 appearances across all competitions for his Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion. Iheanacho made nine starts in 30 league games for Leicester City.

Despite their limited playing time at their respective clubs, Rohr included them in his 25-man provisional squad for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.

“I want to see a lot of players who are not playing so much, give them the opportunity to play,” Rohr told reporters in Asaba.

“It can be for some defenders like Balogun, he is fit but he didn’t play so much, so we want to see him playing on Saturday and also some players like Kelechi [Iheanacho]."

After the game, the Super Eagles will depart for Ismaila, Egypt on Sunday to continue their preparation for the Afcon. Then they will play their final friendly game against Senegal at the Ismailia Stadium on June 16.

The three-time African champions have been drawn in Group B along with Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar.

They kick off their campaign in the tournament against the Swallows on June 22.