Rohr Clears ‘Stylish’ Iwobi of Complacency

  • As Babayaro calls for calm in goalkeeping department

Femi Solaja with agency report

Technical Adviser of Nigeria senior national team, Gernot Rohr, has thrown his weight solidly behind Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi’s style of play as long it is for the collective good of the team.

The young Super Eagles’ forward was roundly criticised by ball fans for been too individualistic almost like his uncle and former Nigerian Captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha in his early days in the senior national team.

Former Nigerian Manager, Clemens Westerhof, in 1993 fell out with Okocha for similar behaviour in his style of play.
Despite the showboating of the Arsenal player in Nigeria’s 2-0 friendly loss to Serbia in London on Tuesday night, Rohr insisted Iwobi is a good player with quality.

”With us (Super Eagles) all the time, he’s very good. He was good against Poland and he was fantastic against Serbia,” Rohr told UK’s Evening Standard.

“Perhaps some times (he did) a little too much individually, he wanted to make a show. We prefer collective football.

”But when he can eliminate his opponent it’s very good. He’s with us all the time in confidence. He’s free when he has the ball.

“I don’t know what the tactical options of Arsene Wenger are when he’s with Arsenal but with us he’s free offensively and he can show all his qualities,” the Franco-German coach affirmed.

Meanwhile, Atlanta 96 Olympic gold medallist, Emmanuel Babayaro, has said that clamour for a very good goalkeeper for the team to the World Cup in Russia is one issue that has been over-emphasised.

The former national team reserve goalkeeper told yesterday that the team should be looking at strengthening other areas and not necessarily the goalkeeping department.

The duo of Francis Odinaka Uzoho of Deportivo La Coruna and Ikechukwu Ezenwa of Enyimba are in the running to man the post for Nigeria, no thanks to the ailment suffered by first choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.

Babayaro downplayed the need for a fantastic goalkeeper at the World Cup, insisting that if other areas of the team are properly stocked, an average goalkeeper can do the job for the Eagles.

“The reason why Nigerians are clamouring for a very good goalkeeper is because of the amount of goal scoring opportunities we give opponents during games. Which is directly a fault of the defenders and not the goalkeeper “, he observed.

“Vincent Enyeama has done well for us in the last two World Cups, and the best his display has given us is to reduce the score line as other departments didn’t do what was expected of them.

“As a country we presently can’t boast of a goalkeeper of Enyeama’s quality but it’s not a necessity as being mentioned by many.

“For instance with all due respect to Dosu Joseph, the reason behind our triumph at the Olympics wasn’t because he was a fantastic goalkeeper.

“We won gold at the 1996 Olympics because other departments of the team made up for our short comings elsewhere. First of all we need a very good defence set up to provide cover for whoever is picked to man the post by coach Gernot Rohr. That should be our priority now,” he concluded.