Kaduna is not just known as one of the industrial hubs of the North Central states of Nigeria, it can also be called home to some current and legendary players like Daniel ‘The Bull’ Amokachi, Rashidi Yekini, Garba Lawal, Victor Moses amongst others. From the days of Okey Isima, the lightening pace of Ben Iroha, the attacking runs of Celestine Babayaro and the specially-made left foot of Taiye Taiwo whose thunderbolt-like strikes leaves commentators and fans in awe, Nigeria heralds a rich and juicy collection of exquisite left full-backs and one name that might just be added to that list is Jamilu Collins.
Born on the 5th of August 1994, Jamilu began his football career with Abuja Football College Academy before moving to HNK Rijeka in the summer of 2012 thereby signing his first professional contract with the club. A year later, he was loaned to NK Promorac where he played 29 times before returning to the reserve team of his parent club earning 24 appearances. He also went on to sign a year contract with extension with the club in May 2015. He was part of John Obu’s Flying Eagles team at the Toulon cup in France but didn’t feature in any game.
Call him the journeyman and you wouldn’t be exactly wrong. In the summer of 2015, Jamilu went on loan to NK Strka in the Slovenian Privaliga earning just 13 appearances before returning to Rijeka 7 months later. After his loan spell at HNK Sibenik, he extended his contract with Rijeka and went on loan again to another Croatian club side, NK Istra 1961. On 6th September 2017, as a free agent, Jamilu joined second tier German Bundesliga side; SC Paderborn 07 on a two-year contract after series of trials. Before sealing the deal to his current club, Jamilu got married to a Croatian lady in order to secure his Croatian citizenship because non-European citizens are not allowed to play in the German third division. Paderborn however, now play in the second division.
As Elderson Echejile continues to define the law of diminishing returns in a slow but steady manner, the hunt for a new left back for the Super Eagles became very paramount. Coach Gernot Rohr handed Jamilu Collins his first call up to the national team despite displeasure from some sections of the Nigerian media and fans on 11th September, 2018 and made his debut in a friendly match against Liberia some days later. After an impressive performance, he was given his competitive debut in a 4-0 win over the Mediterranean Knights of Libya in an African Nations Cup Qualifier in Uyo, a game in which he almost scored a goal to crown the decent display he had on the day.
Jamilu Collins is of average height (1.78m) but he is gradually growing into the ranks of Gernot Rohr’s team. He is one of those full backs who gives a balanced performance both attacking and defending wise. He has decent positional awareness and his tape-rule measured crosses is worthy of note also. His outings so far with the Super Eagles continues to win the hearts of Nigerian fans. However, going into the AFCON tournament in Egypt, he will look to draw inspiration from his predecessors as he prepares to make the left full-back position his birthright. It is also interesting to note that Collins is yet to lose a game while playing for the National team.
National Team Profile
- Appearances = 7
- Minutes = 600
- Clean Sheets = 4
- Goals = nil