Zaidu, watch your back! Jamilu Collins means business – Score Nigeria
Paderborn of Germany left back Jamilu Collins superb outing against Liberia could send his FC Porto unsettled rival down the pecking order, IKENWA NNABUOGOR warns…
Jamilu Collins could still get his groove back at Super Eagles left back judging by his impressive outing against Liberia as the Eagles launched their Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign on a sound footing, beating their West African neighbours 2-0.
Collins had a shaky start to his Eagles career, which incidentally began in a friendly game against Liberia in Monrovia, 2018, when coach Gernot Rohr blooded him into the Eagles ranks as the left back role appeared to be the missing link in the team’s back line.
His early Eagles days failed to bring back the fond memories of former Eagles left backs Ben Iroha, Celestine Babayaro and Garba Lawal as fans continued to put pressure on Rohr and company to find a lasting solution to this problematic role.
Rohr was alerted to a certain left back – Zaidu Sanusi – who had set the Portuguese league on fire with his quick pace and scintillating darting runs on the flanks for less fancied Santa Clara.
Rohr kept monitoring Zaidu’s situation and became fully convinced he had got his man at left back when Porto broke the bank for the exciting left back.
Jamilu Collins (left) celebrates with Samuel Kalu in Eagles
The player’s transition from an unknown player to a competitive club and national team player was as swift as a foregone conclusion and pronto, he was hauled into the Eagles team to threaten Collins’ position.
He did actually threaten his position as Collins immediately dropped to the bench and was only dug up in the double Cameroon friendlies in Austria when Sanusi was unavailable due to injury.
Collins knew he had his hands full as Sanusi grabbed his shirt with consumate abilities and quickly won over their hearts of the fans who had been unsatisfied with Eagles left back since the likes of Babayaro and Lawal hung their boots.
Exit Collins, enter Zaidu Sanusi – the Porto defender didn’t waste to bring his attacking-minded defensive skills along from Porto to breathe a brand-new life to Eagles left back role.
His debut game against Algeria in a friendly in Austria on October 9, 2020, left Rohr smiling that his dream man had arrived.
Zaidu did a very competent job on Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez even though the Eagles were beaten by the odd goal in a highly tensed game between the two arch-rivals.
Four more caps after the Algerian debut ultimately confined Collins to the substitutes’ bench as the new bride held sway and Collins would only come back against Cameroon when injury ruled out his direct rival.
A wicked combination of hard luck and a dip in form at Porto which also got the Porto fans calling for his head have now threatened to reduce Zaidu to a fringe player.
His sins were two bad mistakes that led to Porto conceding goals and his punishment was signing of Brazilian left back Wendell from Bayer Leverkusen to push the exciting left back criminally to fourth place in the pecking order.
Zaidu in action for Porto. What does the future hold for him?
Lack of regular first-team club football meant exhuming Collins’ ghosts and the latter got back into the groove meaning business and impressing Rohr and company.
While Zaidu Sanusi was in the Porto wilderness, Collins had personalized Paderborn’s left back position, leading charge, assisting and even finding rare chance to get on the score sheet as the relegated German side continued to fight their way up the highest football pyramid in Germany.
To make matters worse for Zaidu, his place at Porto is not certain as clubs are eyeing him from a move away from Porto.
West Ham were the most notable of his suitors who explored the possibility of a loan move on the final day of the summer transfer window, delaying his arrival for the Liberia game in Lagos.
He would eventually arrive a day to the match day without spotting the colours of the West London side and ultimately not getting dressed for the Liberia game as Collins proved Zaidu Sanusi has not completely shut him out.
Missing out on a transfer that will end his Porto misery could also mean Collins continuing his good job in Sanusi’s absence.
Eagles travel to Praia for a dicey date with delightful Portuguese-influenced Cape Verde side on Tuesday and it appears Collins could continue his business while Sanusi watches from the sidelines.
Another Collins’ competent outing against the Cinderella team of the Group C could further compound Sanusi’s Eagles’ headaches.
It’s certainly not business as usual for Zaidu Sanusi as he will have to triple his efforts to regain his first team shirt at Porto or in any on-loan side going forward because Collins does not seem to want to lose it again.
Indeed, interesting times ahead for both left backs as the competition for the shirt hots up, but the eventual winners will be the Super Eagles and the fans who will smile again that the left back assurance is back.
Source: Score Nigeria
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