SUPER Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has assured fans that his team will bounce back from Sunday’s loss to Madagascar in the ongoing African Cup of nations as it will be stronger in the knock-out phase thanks to the return of leftback Jamilu Collins.
On Sunday, the Eagles suffered a humiliating 0-2 loss to tournament debutants Madagascar in their final Group B game after winning their first two matches against Burundi and Guinea 1-0 respectively. Several changes were made for the Madagascar game which led to Mr Rohr fielding a weakened team but his charges were still expected to beat the Indian Ocean islanders with ease.
Since the tournament began, first choice leftback Collins has not seen action at all as he has been nursing a groin injury but now that he is fit and available for selection, Mr Rohr believes the team will be firing on all cylinders. Torino’s right-back, Ola Aina has been playing as a left-back in all the group matches due to Collins’ injury but he is now expected to revert to rightback, providing the team with width.
Skipper Mikel Obi, is however, expected to be out for a week as he picked up a knock during the Madagascar game which led to him being substituted in the 59th minute. Nigeria’s next opponents are not yet known but with the Eagles having finished second in the group, it is highly likely that they may face Ghana in the Round of 16.
Mr Rohr said: “I am still confident because we have everybody now fit except 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, 90 minutes and Musa also, so we’ll have more rhythm in the offensive department. Now we are waiting for our opponent, we don’t know yet but we are preparing very well for the next match and I am still confident because I have a team who can play much better than they did.”
Yesterday morning, the players returned to the training as they began preparations for their Round of 16. Mikel and Bursapor defender Abdullahi Shehu are the only two injury doubts in the squad.