Rangers duo Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun could be in for a bumpy ride when they set off on their international commitments for Nigeria next month.

The pair have both played important roles in the Gers’ success so far this season and have really stepped up in recent games.

Aribo has been criticised in some quarters for lacking a clinical touch in front of goal but he has now scored in successive games while Balogun has shifted across the backline to cover admirably for the influential James Tavernier in the right-back’s injury absence.


But they are expected to be released for international duty next month with Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr counting on them to play starring roles in the Africa Cup of Nations Qualification fixtures v Benin (March 27) and Lesotho (March 30).

As reported on the Daily Record website, the vastly-travelled Rohr detailed the tough task ahead of the Gers pairing, saying: “We have players like Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo, who were born in Europe and have never seen Lagos. I want them to discover this crazy city with 19 million inhabitants.

“So it’s important we have good security and escorts to move around. The traffic in Lagos is terrible. We also need to do some work on the surface of the pitch, like cut the grass which is very much needed.

“For the first match in Benin, we are playing in the city of Cotonou. We will stay in Lagos ahead of the match.

“But because the road is not good between Lagos and Cotonou, we will travel to the match on a boat because the crossing only lasts two hours, instead of many hours on poor roads by coach.”


Cause for concern

This will be a genuine worry for Steven Gerrard and his Rangers coaching staff and further raises doubt over whether international football should be taking place at a time of heightened risk for all.

International action causes disruption at the best of times but particularly during a worldwide pandemic which throws travel plans into utter chaos.

Add to that the surfaces alluded to by Rohr and it paints a concerning picture ahead of a season-defining end to the campaign.

We do not want to prevent our stars from representing their countries but the signs are that this has the makings to be a disruptive break and we are fearful of potential injuries.

All being well we should still be in Europa League action in April and the first legs of the quarter-final ties are on April 8.

Gerrard will just be hoping they all come back in one piece for these crucial match-ups.

In other Rangers news, Aribo selected as SPFL star man of the week after Dundee United display.


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