SC Paderborn of Germany defender, Jamilu Collins has been cited as the next left-back wonder for the Super Eagles, following a dazzling outing in his national team competitive debut against Libya in Uyo and follow-up for the second leg on Tuesday in Sfax, Tunisia.
One of Nigeria’s most-acclaimed left-full-backs ever, ex-Chelsea and Newcastle united of England star, Celestine Babayaro said right after Saturday’s first leg in Uyo that he had just seen ‘the new prince.’
Babayaro declared back then: “He could be the best discovery of Rohr as coach of Nigeria.
“Handing him a start means Rohr is well aware of his abilities and he didn’t disappoint with the way he played.
“Considering the position has been a source of concern for a while his emergence is a source of joy.
“It’s just his first game but the confidence he showed is something else. I won’t say he is my replacement yet but he could be the long term solution to the left full back issues.”
Eagles’ gaffer, Gernot Rohr appeared to confirm that acclamation by starting Collins again on Tuesday, as the lad stepped out for his first competitive away match with the Eagles, but third game overall, having starred first in an exhibition match away to Liberia on September 11.
For Tuesday’s revrse fixture, Collins was one of several players who retained their starting spots, along with the central defence duo of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Aderemi Balogun; but Ola Aina again stepped in for injured Shehu Abdullahi, as he did early in the first leg.
In midfield, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo were to play a lot deeper than they did last weekend, while Alex Iwobi was again the playmaker, but with slightly different instructions this time from Rohr.
Iwobi was assigned to play through the middle, but close to Samuel Kalu and Ahmed Musa, who were both expected to contribute defensively, as the full backs would not be as adventurous as they were on Saturday.
That meant Odion Jude Ighalo was bound to be isolated upfront as a top striker, falling back once in a while to put up loose balls or mark from the front, in a formation that look less offensive.
Interestingly, Rohr started his permutations and tactical strategies for the reverse fixture in Sfax barely an hour after the Eagles landed in the Tunisian city on Monday.
The team landed at the airport around 4pm local time, but quickly had to get to Tuesday’s match venue for the mandatory feel of the turf, where the reverse tie would hold.
The team had their single training session at the pitch for little over an hour, with 22 players involved, following the injury forced withdrawals of Eddy Ogenyi Onazi and Shehu Abdullahi.
During the session, Francis Odinaka Uzoho again stood out as first choice in goal, as he was drilled separately by the trainers, thereby setting the Elche of Spain youngster up to continue as leading keeper on Tuesday.
The outfield players were involved in warm up drills before taking part in a mild tactical session that indicated Rohr’s option for a 4-2-3-1 tilt.
While the duo of Uzoho and second choice keeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa were put through their paces by the trainers, Chippa United of South Africa netminder, Daniel Akpeyi joined the outfield players.