By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria international Etim Esin has blamed Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr for failing to solidify his defence following Tuesday’s Group D 2-1 loss to Argentina at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Super Eagles needed just a draw to qualify alongside group leaders Croatia into the last 16 of the World Cup.
With scores at 1-1, the Super Eagles were on course before a Marcos Rojo’s 86th minute goal put paid to the dream and sent Argentina through.
“I think the coach should have brought in defence-minded players to seal up the defence,” Esin lamented in a chat with completesportsnigeria.com.
“We didn’t need to win the match, we had two options, either to win or to draw. Like I said he should have packed the bus. Immediately we equalised we should have held on to the ball, the Argentines would be the ones coming for the ball. But we allowed the Argentines to keep getting the ball and attacking us and when you allow the opposition to keep having the ball definitely a goal will come.
“Well I believe they would have learnt their lesson, they did their best but it was not good enough. And if Ighalo had buried those two chances he would have been the hero of the game.”
Despite his criticism of Rohr, Esin backed the German-born coach to still be in charge of the Super Eagles.
He said:”We have a young team and I am not in support of always sacking coaches, they should be given a long time to build a solid team. That was how Westerhof succeeded, he had more than four years to build a team starting from 1989 to 1994. Rohr has a young squad so let him build the squad and learn from his mistakes.”
He however called on the replacement of some players in the Super Eagles.
“There are those who are old and should retire and be replaced. That is what most countries do which we don’t. We should have replacements for players whose times are up in the team.
“Look at the German team that won the FIFA Confederations Cup, they were young players. So we should start looking to that direction.”