The Super Eagles will be without two key members of the defence for Tuesday’s friendly second leg against Cameroon after vice-captain William Troost-Ekong and Jamilu Collins both picked up injuries in Friday’s first leg.
Troost-Ekong was helped off the field in the 90th minute with what appeared a serious injury and was replaced by Galatasaray defender and former U20 national team captain Valentine Ozornwafor, who came on for his Super Eagles debut.
Collins lasted the duration of the 1-0 loss at the Wiener Neustadt Stadion but has now been confirmed to have picked up a strain.
The injuries are a further cause of concern for Eagles manager Gernot Rohr who was already without a host of players including defenders Leon Balogun, Ola Aina and Kevin Akpoguma and forwards Victor Osimhen, Joe Aribo, Samuel Chukwueze and who all dropped out due to injury.
Confirming the absences of Troost-Ekong and Collins for the second game against the Indomitable Lions, Rohr said the situation offers the chance to try something different and hinted at a possible shift to a back three to compensate for the absences.
“We lost, unfortunately, two other players to injury and it will be a bit difficult for the second game to make the defence because Ekong and Collins are out they cannot play so I think we have to manage again a difficult situation,” Rohr confirmed to NFF media following Friday’s game.
“But it’s an opportunity, perhaps, to play with three defenders only and to change a little bit the system to try something different that’s why we are happy to have this second game.”
And with his team severely depleted, the former Gabon manager who has already played down the first leg loss was quick to get in his caveats ahead of the second leg, saying performances more than results are his focus for the game.
“The result is not the most important in a friendly, the most important is to learn, to see, some interesting things, to test some new players, and then for the competition, to be efficient.
“That I think is what we want to do in September for the World Cup qualifiers.”