The Super Eagles are facing two different shades of injury reports heading into their round of 16 match at the Africa Cup of Nations, as skipper of the side, John Mikel Obi has been cast in doubt for Saturday’s game, due to injury, while SC Paderborn of Germany left-back, Jamilu Collins has been certified fit to play.
Megasportsarena.com reports that, while Mikel is now in a race against time to be fit for the fixture at Alexandria Stadium, Collins could finally make his debut at the Africa Cup of Nations, after he was knocked out of the opening match against Burundi less than five hours to kick-off at the same venue.
Collins ended up missing the Eagles’ first three match at AFCON 2019, after suffering a training ground injury on June 21, but he is back in training with the squad and in line for a shirt on Saturday.
However, while Collins gave Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr good news when the team resumed training on Monday morning, to begin preparations for their round of 16 fixture, Mikel was declared doubtful ahead of the game, after he suffered an injury in Sunday’s match against Madagascar.
The 32-year-old star, who has made two appearances at the ongoing AFCON in Egypt, missed Monday’s training in Alexandria with a swelling on his knee and team doctors say he could be out for at least a week.
The former Chelsea midfielder failed to complete 90 minutes in both matches he has played at Egypt 2019, and was left on the bench for Nigeria’s second game against Syli Nationale of Guinea.
He started the third group match against Madagascar on Sunday, but was substituted after 59 minutes of the Eagles’ 2-0 loss to the Indian Ocean island nation, and is uncertain to play this weekend.
Same goes for Bursapor of Turkey defender, Abdullahi Shehu, who is still recovering from a hamstring complaint, which again kept him out of the Eagles’ recovery session, which lasted about one hour and half.
However, Rohr is taking solace from the possibility of finally being able to play a natural left-footer to balance his back-four, and further hinted that Collins could return to the starting line-up on Saturday.
The Franco-German gaffer also alluded to the firm possibility of Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi and Alex Iwobi back in the starting roster on Saturday, after both playing as subs against Madagascar, while Odion Jude Ighalo is bound to lead the attack again, despite misfiring in the last game.
Rohr said: ”I am still confident because we have everybody now fit only Shehu perhaps. We have recovered Collins, our left-back with a left foot.
”We will be able to have Ndidi in good fitness after 45 minutes of rest, Iwobi is very fit, one more match today for Ighalo, ninety minutes and Musa also, we’ll have more rhythm in the offensive department.”