Nigeria Super Eagles defender Jamilu Collins has spoken about his condition while recovering from an injury that sidelined him for nine months.
The Cardiff City fullback tore his ACL in 2022 while on club duty and has been out of action since then.
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He missed outings with the Nigeria national football team squad, but the defender is back training with Cardiff and ready to get back into the flow of things again. He will already have one eye set on returning to full fitness and form ahead of AFCON 2023.
“I have never suffered an injury” – Collins
Collins, who has won 25 caps for the Super Eagles and was a shoo-in for the squad to represent Nigeria at the AFCON 2023 tournament, joined Cardiff City from SC Paderborn, where he spent five years, in 2022.
He could only play four games before getting sent to the sidelines for nine months with a serious injury.
The 28-year-old, who has also played in Croatia and Slovenia, has managed to go a decade as an active professional, competing in an average of 20 matches a season (across all clubs and competitions).
His first injury felt like the end of his career, and the recovery process felt like he would be the same again, according to the left back's description to NFF TV after returning to training with Cardiff City.
Speaking to NFF TV, the top source for Nigeria football news and Super Eagles News, Collins said, “I have never suffered any injury since I started playing football professionally, and to go through a whole nine months without football was a torrid period for me.
“The ACL injury experience was terrible and when treatment started it was like I got a new knee.”
He thanked the NFF Chairman and the Super Eagles manager José Peseiro for reaching out to him in his recovery period. “I want to appreciate the new NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau; the General Secretary, Dr Sanusi; Coach Jose Peseiro, Super Eagles’ Team Administrator Dayo Enebi Achor.”
Collins also thanked his fellow Nigeria national football team players who reached out to him to show support while he was recovering from the injury. “[I want to thank] my Super Eagles’ teammates for reaching out and showing me love during this period. It all mattered so much to me and I'm grateful,” he added in his statement to the NFF TV, via All Nigeria Soccer.
Collins in the Super Eagles
The left-back debuted for Nigeria in 2018 and was part of the team winning bronze in the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
Collins was an excellent replacement for Elderson Echiejile at the time, leading to the 2013 AFCON winner's retirement from international football. He held the spot alongside Ola Aina and the Oyibo wall of Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong until 2021 when the squad dynamics began to change.
His return is a big boost for the Super Eagles ahead of the AFCON qualifiers 2023 June outings against Sierra Leone. However, given the competition for places in the Nigeria Super Eagles team, Collins will have to fight his way back into the squad.
Despite poor showings of late, the Super Eagles will again be favourites to go all the way as AFCON 2023 draws near. Super Eagles forwards like Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze are in top form, and the quality of the Nigeria professional football league continues to improve ahead of the AFCON 2023.
This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago