Rangers duo Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun were involved for Nigeria yesterday as Gernet Rohr’s side beat Liberia 2-0 thanks to a double from Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho.
The win puts the Super Eagles top of their group in the second round of African qualifying for next year’s World Cup as Nigeria look to qualify for their seventh World Cup in their last eight attempts.
Iheanacho struck after 21 and 45 minutes with both goals created by Everton ace Everton midfielder Alex Iwobi.
With a relatively easy group containing Cape Verde, the Central African Republic and Liberia, Aribo and Balogun should take a massive stride towards the World Cup next winter with a strong showing in qualifying.
The Rangers pair won’t face Cape Verde in Nigeria’s second game in Group C as a result of UK Covid restriction, with all UK based players returning home rather than having to quarantine had they travelled to Cape Verde.
That means nine of Rohr’s squad won’t make the trip to the island nation for Tuesday’s tie, leaving the Super Eagles short-handed against the team that is likely to be their toughest competition.
Balogun played the full game in Lagos while Aribo was replaced in the final moments by Oghenekaro Etebo as Nigeria saw out a comfortable win.
After impressing in last weekend’s Old Firm win, Balogun maintained his recent good form with another strong showing but Aribo wasn’t up to his usual high standards with the game passing him by largely.
Rohr was happy with the result over Liberia but admits his side will be in for a tougher challenge on Tuesday in their second fixture, confessing it won’t be easy to “build a new team” in just a few days.
“The job has been done,” he said after the 2-0 win. “We had to win our first game at home and we did not concede a goal.
“We will be without nine players (in Cape Verde) — that means it will be another team and it is not easy to build a new team within days.
“We will also play on a synthetic pitch. This will be a challenge. It will be more difficult than against Liberia.”
Meanwhile, a key Rangers star has been talking about his future at Ibrox amid £15m links out of the club this summer.