Sports Minister Throws Decision on Rohr’s Future Back to NFF

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Sports Minister, Sunday Dare (left), receiving an autographed Nigerian home jersey from Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr in his office in Abuja...wednesday

CONTRACT RENEWAL

Femi Solaja

With uncertainty surrounding the contract renewal of Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, wednesday insisted that the issue of extending the stay or not of the Franco-German gaffer lies with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The tactician’s contract with the Glass House is to expire next June and there are indications that the relationship between him and NFF appears frosty at the moment and it is unlikely he may be given the nod to continue on the job.

Rohr qualified Nigeria to the last World Cup finals in Russia and AFCON 2019 last summer in Egypt.

But wednesday, the Sports Minister who met with the coach in his office said the decision to renew or terminate the relationship lies at the door step of NFF.

“The issue of contract (with Rohr) will be best handled by the NFF. I understand the need to work the fine lines.

“I understand there is a contractual arrangement with the NFF, I will allow the NFF to work through its process, ” the minister insisted after the meeting.

Dare however charged the coach not to be distracted but intensify efforts to take Nigerian football to the pinnacle.

“Are we happy about where our football is at the moment, not exactly but we know there’s an ongoing process that will make this country a better football nation. That process is on and you are part of the process”,he remarked.

Interestingly, the current contract will expire in the middle of the ongoing AFCON 2021 qualifying round of matches with Nigeria leading Group L with maximum six points after wins against Republic of Benin and Lesotho last weekend. Sierra Leone is the fourth team in the group.

Dare, however stressed that the ministry will continue to give the coach all the necessary support as the NFF finalises its meeting on the contract talks.

He also tasked the coach on working with stakeholders to develop the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in line with international best practices.

” More importantly, your knowledge and support for the domestic league will be very important because you can share your experience with our local coaches,” the minister said.

Earlier, Rohr congratulated the minister on his appointment and efforts to reposition Nigerian sports.

He pledged to work more closely with the minister going forward as the Super Eagles strive to pick the AFCON 2021 ticket.

High point of the event was the presentation of an autographed Super Eagles jersey by the coach to the minister.

In a related development, NFF has concluded plans to replace all the national team coaches due to the free fall of Nigeria’s teams in age grade international competitions in recent time.

The decision appears a follow up to NFF’s meeting with the Sports Minister on Monday where Dare demanded a written explanation on why Nigerian football teams can no longer perform as expected in international competitions.

The Head of Communications, Ademola Olajire gave this this hint after the meeting with the minister.

“The NFF has gone ahead to map out strategies for better results going forward, including but not limited to a revamp of the NFF Technical Department; improved supervision of the teams by the NFF Technical Committee; open and transparent process to select new head coaches for the teams affected; early preparation and prioritization of tournaments; synergy between the Ministry and the NFF to get approved funds released early enough for adequate preparation of teams participating in major matches and competitions and; to work even harder at securing partners and sponsors to support the programmes of the National Teams,” he stated.

THISDAY recalled that coach Paul Aigbogun-led Flying Eagles crashed out in the second round of the 2019 FIFA U2O World Cup; the Falcons were eliminated by Cote d’Ivoire in the 2020 Olympic qualifier, the Golden Eaglets failed at the just concluded FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil and the Imama Amapakabo tutored U23 national team similarly failed to pick one of the tickets to the 2020 Olympic at the ongoing U23 African Cup of Nations in Egypt. The team failed at the WAFU tournament as well as the CHAN final qualifying tournament.