Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is desperate for Rangers stars Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun to experience “crazy city” Lagos on international duty next month – but warns they will need a security escort to reach their final African Cup of Nations qualifying clash.
The Super Eagles face an away trip to Benin – a match they will travel to from the national side’s base by boat – before rounding off their campaign against tiny Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in the country’s most populated city.
The Ibrox duo could celebrate a double success in the space of a week should they seal the Scottish Premiership title at the home of nearest rivals Celtic on March 21, with Nigeria requiring just a single win from either of their last two games to reach the competition proper.
Aribo, who was born in London’s Camberwell area, and Balogun, born in Berlin, have 38 caps for the national side between them and both played a part in the thrilling 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone in November when Nigeria blew a four goal lead in Benin City.
But while the COVID-19 pandemic means the usually vibrant atmosphere will be removed from the occasion, Rohr dropped a massive hint over their international future as the Super Eagles boss claimed it was important for the pair to experience the city’s bustling heart in person.
However, he acknowledged there would be logistical challenges to make sure the side and facilities are prepared before the game against the tiny enclave on the south of Africa can take place.
He told Europe 1 : “The traffic in Lagos is terrible, but we are promised an escort between our hotel and the stadium, or even to close the road to allow us to avoid traffic jams.
“The other day, I took an hour to make the trip. It’s a bit much before a game. It will probably be in an empty stadium. Teams are working on the lawn. I inspected it all.
“The idea of playing in Lagos is good for the players. Some do not know this city at all, this is the case of Leon Balogun, Aribo or others, who were born in Europe.
“They will discover this crazy city, with 19 million inhabitants. It is important that we have security, escorts to move around and a good lawn to play. We are working on all these aspects.”