Nigeria left back Jamilu Collins has told www.aclsports.com he is unfazed by the possibility of facing Algeria’s talisman Riyad Mahrez when both teams face in the semifinal of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 game on Sunday.
Mahrez has been influential in Algeria’s run to the last four in this year’s AFCON tournament and many Nigerian fans have earmarked the Manchester City star as Algeria’s danger man but Collins says he is not scared of the Number 7.
“First, the decision if I will play rests with our coach but if I am called upon, I will give my best like I always do in every game,” said Collins to www.aclsports.com
“We know Mahrez is a good player but we are ready as a team to face the Algerians and I cannot be scared of any opponent.
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“It will be a tough game and of course we all know what to expect. It will be a really difficult match like every other AFCON game so we’re trying and we go through this week in our training to be focused and to be ready for that game physically and mentally and hopefully we’re going for the result and make our country proud,” said the 24-year old.
Collins made his first appearance of the ongoing tournament in the Super Eagles’ 2-1 win over South Africa on Wednesday and the Paderborn SC left back gave credit to Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr for his performance.
“Mentally, you have to be strong for a game like that, to come out in the quarter finals for your first AFCON game. There was a lot of pressure but thank God the coach is a strong coach who gives mental strength to the players and of course the mental strength helped me that.”
Nigeria will have their final training session before Sunday’s game at the El Shams Sports Club, Heliopolis Cairo at 5:30pm on Saturday. Algeria vs Nigeria will commence at 9:00PM local time (8:00PM Nigerian time) at the Cairo International Stadium.
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Cairo