Bursaspor of Turkey defender, Shehu Abdullahi has declared that he will be back in action soon with the Super Eagles, as he wants to quickly shake off the injury that knocked him out of the first half in Saturday’s opening group game against Burundi at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
He had been declared unfit to start the Group B opener in Alexandria, Egypt, but had to be patched up when Jamilu Collins developed some health issues, and though both players have been ruled out of this Wednesday’s game versus Guinea, Abdullahi says he will be back soon.
Although the Eagles won the game 1-0 in Alexandria, Egypt, the team got an early scare when Abdullahi had to bow out midway through the first half, only for the doctors to remind the coaching crew that the star had actually failed a late fitness test before kick-off.
Indeed, it was a surprise seeing Abdullahi in the Eagles’ starting line-up for Saturday’s match, as the verdict few hours before kick-off had been that he was not fit enough to play the game, but his name was included in the dressing room, and Collins dropped instead.
While a similar scenario played out for Burundi as well, with one player dropped for another just after the list had been dropped, an insider in Nigeria’s squad hinted that Collins copped a knock during the warm-up, as the coaches felt the next reliable option to call upon was Abdullahi.
However, it was a twist of events, as Abdullahi had already been in doubt for Saturday’s game against Burundi, after arriving late at the Eagles’ camp due to the Ramadan festivities, only for him to take ill before the team left Asaba for Ismailia.
His situation improved a little after the Eagles’ last build-up friendly against Senegal the past Sunday, only for him to cop a knock during training, and Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr quickly put the fair-skinned defender-cum-midfielder out of his plans for Saturday’s game.
Another hint emerged early Saturday that there would be no show for Abdullahi, who had also been among the first of Rohr’s invitees to take ill upon arrival at the camp in Asaba and his condition only improved slightly in Ismailia for the second phase of preparations.
Abdullahi was not the only ‘half fit’ player Rohr to contend with before the game against Burundi, as worries also persisted over vice-captain, Ahmed Musa, as well as Henry Onyekuru, Leon Aderemi Balogun and Paul Onuachu, while Samuel Kalu collapsed during training on Friday.
However, against all forecasts, Abdullahi stated against The Swallows, and appeared to hold his own fairly well, until he bowed in pain and had to be taken off on a stretcher, much to the disdain of the Eagles’ medical crew, but the full back insists he will bounce back sooner than expected.
He took his optimism to social media, with a post that also included his words of gratitude to all fans and stakeholders that have expressed concern over his plight and are wishing him speedy recovery.
Abdullahi posted: “Thanks for the love Nigerians, I appreciate your amazing messages. I will be back soon!
“The most important thing, keep supporting us, we shall make you proud at the end and conquer Africa.”