- Explains why he rejigged Eagles against Bafana
Even before knowing the identity of their AFCON 2019 semi final opponent, Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr on Thursday morning charged his wards to be focused and fully committed to the task at hand as they countenance another tough session on Sunday night at the Cairo International Stadium.
“The next match in a championship is always the toughest, so it is always important to approach it that way. That is why we must now forget what we achieved against South Africa in our quarter-final match and start to build up towards the semi-final.
“There is no time to rest on our oars. We must make all the sacrifices we can now to achieve our objectives at this tournament. We must stay focused and be fully committed.”
The three-time champions were back at the Aerosport pitch inside the Cairo Airport on Thursday morning to begin training for Sunday’s encounter against Algeria who defeated Cote d’Ivoire 4-3 in penalty shoot out last night.
Also on Thursday morning, the management of the Le Meridien Cairo Airport hotel presented a big cake to the Super Eagles for the 2-1 win over South Africa that has taken Nigeria into the last four of Africa’s biggest and most prestigious football championship.
The hotel manager, Atef Wilson, on behalf of the management presented the cake to Coach Gernot Rohr and forward Odion Ighalo, who received on behalf of the team.
Meanwhile, Rohr has thrown light on his decision to start Samuel Chukwueze and Jamilu Collins in the match against South Africa.
The gaffer dropped regular Ola Aina to the bench for Collins while Moses Simon was late substitute for Chukwueze in the make or break on Wednesday in Cairo.
Rohr explained that in Nigeria’s match against Cameroon, he did not play natural left footer in the squad but reverted to the conventional style because of the pace of the South Africans.
“In the match against Cameroon, we did not play any natural left footer which explains why I dropped Aina for Collins who did very well in that position. We have to understand the fact that we take the games as they come and not that any particular player dropped was out of form.
“We suffered to some extent against South Africa whom I have a lot of respect for. It’s unfortunate that they had to play crucial matches within the spate of four days.
“After defeating the host country Egypt, we knew that they will play against unfriendly crowd and that also worked to Eagles’ advantage aside the fact that we had more hours of rest before the match,” he concluded.
Victory over South Africa took Franco-German Gernot Rohr’s record with Nigeria to 20 wins in 34 matches, of which he has drawn five and lost nine