WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFIER
. Its a marathon race, says NFF boss
By Femi Solaja
While many Nigerians are still celebrating the Super Eagles’ win over North African foe, Algeria last Saturday in Uyo in a crucial World Cup group B qualifying match, Nigeria’s Head Coach, Gernot Rohr has declared that the celebrations should be put on hold as there are still more matches to play in the qualifying race.
The Franco-German spoke at the post match press conference, after his charges dismantled Algeria’s Fennecs 3-1 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
In the same pragmatic manner he reacted after the win over Zambia in Ndola last month, Rohr said: “We played a good match and got three points, but I want to say that there are more matches to play and we have to keep our focus.”
Unlike in the previous qualifying round of matches, Nigeria look solid at the top of group B with six points, with second –placed Cameroun, which Nigeria next play in August 2017, four points behind.
“We have a friendly against Egypt in Dubai in January, which will enable me to look at the home –based players, but I will continue to monitor the Europe –based players and we will see how we get matches for them on FIFA free dates.”
The win earned Rohr, who was signed on by Nigeria August this year, three wins out of three matches.
“I praise the players for their spirit, for their dedication and for their discipline. They all did very well and I am happy at their output.”
Also yesterday the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick celebrated three precious points but insisted that the Eagles will continue to take the 2018 World Cup qualifying race one match at a time.
“This victory is very, very sweet. But as I said after the match in Zambia, this is a marathon. We have now won two matches out of six, and as a result of the draw between Cameroun and Zambia, we are looking very good on top.
“The best approach is to keep focus, to know that we are not there yet but that we surely will be there by putting more effort in each of our next four matches.”
The Super Eagles next play Cameroun home and away within a week in the third quarter of next year, and Pinnick insists those two games will be tough.
“Cameroun have drawn their first two matches of the series and will play us hard in both legs, but we have to play them even harder.”
GROUP B STANDING AFTER DAY TWO
Team           P   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Nigeria        2    2    0   0   0      0      0      6
Cameroun   2    0    2   0   0      0      0      2
Zambia        2    0    1   1   0      0      0      1
Algeria        2    0    1   1   0      0      0       1