Sanusi vs Aina: Is the Super Eagles Left-back Position a Two Horse Race?

Posted On 08 Nov 2020
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The Left-back position in the Super Eagles had in the very recent past lacked enough quality and thus became the weakest link in the back line causing some concerns for Manager Gernot Rohr.

Rohr had relied on make shift players including Ola Aina and Tyronne Ebuehi at different times in the past because he couldn’t get the best from Bryan Idowu, who was the immediate replacement of Elderson Echiejile after the latter’s hiatus following a recurring injury.
However, while Aina’s versatility has never been in doubt, there continues to be a long arduous search for a capable natural left back.
In the months leading to the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, Jamilu Collins emerged as first choice LB.
He at the time was on the verge of helping SC Paderborn gain promotion to the Bundesliga.
But Collins has yet to secure his spot in the ever swelling ranks of the Eagles. The 26 year-old isn’t the most convincing LB, defensively, and his attacking contribution isn’t a strong attribute yet.
Further scouting by the Super Eagles technical team discovered FC Porto’s Zaidu Sanusi, 23, who recently joined from Santa Clara.
He has been capped twice, in international friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia, both performances just above average without much distinction.
There’s an outside chance that 28 year-old Idowu could get a recall if he keeps reeling out such impressive displays as he’s done at FC Khimki, where he’s currently on loan.
Idowu has been capped 10 times by Rohr, only Aina (17) and Collins (11) have seen more action among the available players in that position.
Later this month in a doubleheader AFCON 2021 qualifiers Nigeria will host and play away against Sierra Leone where victories in both games is certain to guarantee qualification to the tournament.
While it’s almost cast that Rohr is likely to hand Sanusi a starter’s shirt against the Leone Stars, the 23 year-old might be looking over his shoulders because Aina remains the best LB option in the Eagles.
What it perhaps means is that there’s still a Left-back question still to be answered as Rohr continues to build a team capable of competing for major silverware.

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Philomena  Ngozi Christopher-Oji was born to the family of the late Michael and Cecilia Ojeogwu of Ubulu-Uku, in Aniocha South Local Government Area, Delta State. She had her primary and secondary education in Nwanoli and Ezemu Girls College, in Ubulu-Uku, before she proceeded to the Delta State University, Abraka, where she studied English and Literary Studies.