Okon Bassey in Uyo
Super Eagles’ 1-0 victory over Tanzania in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations clash has reinforce Gernot Rohr’s confidence of Nigeria qualifying for the next FIFA World Cup scheduled to hold in Russia.
The late lone strike by Manchester City star, Kelechi Iheanacho, earned the Franco-German coach his first victory in-charge of the Super Eagles in Uyo last weekend. Now, he is full of confidence that the three-time African champions can beat Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia to the lone group ticket to Russia 2018 Mundial.
Though a dead-rubber game as both Nigeria and Tanzania had earlier lost out in the qualifier for the AFCON 2017, Rohr used it to prepare his team for an October 3 World Cup qualifier in Zambia before Eagles welcome Algeria the following month.
“I’m happy I won my first match,” began Rohr.
“We have a good chance of qualifying for the World Cup.
“A team that failed to qualify for the AFCON need confidence and the confidence is coming back gradually.
“We played well and any team who created 12, 14 chances in a match, that tells you it’s a good team.
“We were wasteful but we will work on our finishing.”
He further said he looks forward to having Alex Iwobi and Oghenekaro Etebo, who both missed Saturday’s match on account of injury.
“We need to look at the player in Arsenal (Iwobi) and the player who scored four goals in match at the Olympics (Etebo),” he said.
The experienced coach also praised the heroic Tanzania goalkeeper Aishi Manula, who made several big saves to keep his team in the game till Iheanacho’s 78th minute blaster.
Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi also shared in Rohr’s sentiment about Nigeria qualifying for Russia 2018.
“I always strive to be exemplary and to live as a model for others,” Obi noted.
“I know how important the (qualifiers) are in our bid to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. That was the reason why I came for the Tanzania encounter which is a good preparation for the clash against Zambia.
“We all must do our part. We should not continue to dwell on the past to move forward. We must put our house in order if we are to play in Russia,” observed the Chelsea FC star in apparent reference to the AFCON 2017 in Gabon that Nigeria failed to make the cut despite winning the last group game.