By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Super Eagles dismal outing in the last AFCON 2019 qualifier against Seychelles has reopened questions on the competence of Nigeria’s Franco-German Coach, Gernot Rohr to the lead the country’s football to El Dorado.
Three-time African champions Nigeria laboured to a 3-1 victory over the largely uncoordinated Indian Ocean island nation after ending the first half one-all.
Although there was nothing at stake in the match for a Nigeria beyond pride as the country’s passage to AFCON 2019 was sealed last November when Eagles drew 1-1 with South Africa in Johannesburg, it was meant to assess the team’s readiness to challenge for the continental title in Egypt next summer.
Most of the fans that thronged the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba for the match last Friday were unanimous in their opinions that Eagles were poor in form with no visible input of Rohr on the senior national team.
According to an Onitsha-based football academy proprietor, Chike Okolonji, the Super Eagles that played Seychelles did not represent the best of Nigeria’s rich football pedigree.
“ Look at the faces of fans here, majority of them came from far and near. Do you think they are happy? No, they are very sad despite the 3-1 victory because this team is not the Super Eagles quality we are used to. This team is poor,” fumed the academy proprietor shortly after the final whistle.
He wants the NFF to probe what is going on; why the team is playing badly ahead of AFCON 2019.
“How long will it take our German coach to give Nigerians the quality team we all are yearning for? This man has been here now for about three years. Is that not enough time for him to impact on our team if he’s a good coach? Sincerely, I don’t think Rohr have what it takes to return our football to the summit of African football,” Okolonji admonished.
He therefore urged the NFF to review his performance viz-a-viz the contract they entered into with him. “ If he’s not delivering as negotiated, this man’s contract should be reviewed. How can we be struggling at home with the team we defeated 3-0 away, was also beaten 8-1 by Libya. This is not acceptable.”
A top former Nigerian coach who did not ant his name in print told THISDAY inside the Stephen Keshi Stadium that the coach appears to be under the influence of some powerful elements in the country’s football who wants their wards in o feature for the team no matter their quality.
“I think some top persons are influencing this man’s team selection. Otherwise, why bring half-baked players from lower divisions in Europe to Super Eagles and expect him to succeed?” queried the top gaffer with stints in the national team.
He pointed at such players like Collins Jamilu, Paul Onuachu and even the first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho who has been off duty since loan move to Cyprus.
However, in what appears to be the defence of his team’s poor form last Friday, Rohr insisted that Seychelles came prepared to play frustrate his wards from free-flow football with defence game-plan.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game because we were going to face a rejuvenated Seychelles side with new seven plays from the team we defeated 3-0 away. They started their preparation very early in March,” observed Rohr to reporters at the post-match briefing.
The Super Eagles gaffer who also complained about the state of the Asaba Stadium turf believes some of the flaws noticed will be rectified in tomorrow’s international friendly with seven-time champions Egypt.
Goals from Odion Ighalo, Henry Onyekuru and substitute Moses Simon ensured Seychelles left Asaba empty handed.