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INTERVIEW – Rohr: Super Eagles Can’t Afford To Lose To Seychelles

INTERVIEW – Rohr: Super Eagles Can’t  Afford To Lose To Seychelles

Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr speaks on a number of salient issues concerning his team at the unveiling ceremony of his squad for the crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations clash against Seychelles in Lagos on Friday. ADEBOYE AMOSU was there for Completesportsnigeria. com. Excerpts….

WORLD CUP POST MORTEM

We are happy with our performance at the World Cup even though we didn’t make it beyond the group stage. Everywhere we went after World Cup, people told us, ‘you have a young team, that is full of quality that will do well in future’.

We had a conference in Morocco after the World Cup organised by CAF where we discussed a lot about the performance of African teams and how we can do better in future World Cups. Many people said a lot of positive teams about our team and that we were just unlucky to go out with just few minutes left against Argentina.

NFF CRISIS AFTER WORLD CUP

It is not good to mix football together with politics. This present NFF have done well and I strongly believe they deserve total support.

The Nigerian league has been on break because of the crisis which is not good for the country’s football. It is not good for the CHAN team, not good for the U-23 team who will soon be playing qualifying games and the national teams.

THE CHALLENGE OF QUALIFYING FOR AFCON 2019

We lost our first game against South Africa in June last year and the next game against Seychelles is very important to us. And after that, we will play two back-to-back games against Libya.

Seychelles, I believe, have a very good team, so we have to prepare well to beat them. Then after that, we want to play Saudi Arabia on September 11, which will be a good chance to try some new players.

The game against Seychelles is a crucial one and we won’t have longer time to prepare for it, so there is no real chance to try out new players, but we hope to do that in friendlies. It’s a game we can’t afford to lose.

It is a good thing also that CAF has increased the number of participating teams from 16 to 24, and we hope to come first in our group.

MIKEL’S ABSCENCE AGAINST SEYCHELLES

He called me on phone asking to be exempted from the game as he has just returned from injury and needs time to get himself in proper shape.

As for the claims about us not having a leader in the team due to Mikel’s absence, I don’t think that is right because we have some vice-captains who are ready to step up.

There is Ogenyi Onazi, Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong, all are good leaders ready to step up and fill the void.

CHOICE OF GOALKEEPERS FOR THE GAME AGAINST SEYCHELLES

Francis Uzoho is a good and young quality goalkeeper that we discovered before the World Cup. People have said a lot of positive things about him too. The Croatian, Iceland and Argentine coaches all told us you have a good goalkeeper in Russia.He will play with Elche this season which is a good move for him.

Then, Ikechukwu Ezenwa who was with us in Russia has been training with Enyimba even though the Nigeria Professional Football League is still on break.

We also sticking with Daniel Akpeyi who was also one the three goalkeepers at the World Cup.
Aside that, we are monitoring some young goalkeepers who will be useful for the team in future. There is one who is only 15 years old that Carl Ikeme our former goalkeeper has recommended to us and is monitoring him as well. We trust his judgement because he knows the quality we want and hopefully, we will get to see these young goalkeepers take over from the present ones in future.

There is also Dele Ajiboye, the CHAN goalkeeper who was with us as fourth choice during the preparations for the World Cup.

Uzoho

PLANS FOR CARL IKEME

Our plan is to have him around for the game against Seychelles but that is not going to be possible because of the long hours of travelling down from England to Seychelles but we hope to have him with us in subsequent games.

You know he is still recovering from his sickness and it will not be ideal for him to go through long hours of travelling now.

I have already discussed with the NFF about having him with us as part of the backroom staff and it is something that they have really considered. It is important to have a good plan for him after football.

Samuel Kalu trains with Bordeaux teammates

NEW SUPER EAGLES INVITEES

With Shehu Abdullahi and Tyronne Ebuehi injured, we have the chance to invite some new players. There is a new left-back in the team, Jamilu Collins who plays for SC Paderborn in Germany . The boy is from Kaduna. He played in Slovenia before moving to Germany. We have monitored him very closely and he is a good defender.

Elderson Echiejile who is one of our left-backs is not active for now so we need a new player in that position.

Then, Semi Ajayi, a tall defender who fits into the quality of defenders we are looking for.

Samuel Kalu just joined Bordeaux from Gent in Belgium. He is a good winger who may get to start against Seychelles because Victor Moses has retired and because Moses Simon is injured.
We also have Kelechi Nwakali who is on loan at Porto from Arsenal.

ODION IGHALO CRITICISM

He is a good striker and he has been performing well for his club. Sometimes it is good to answer your critics with a good performance and we hope he is able to do that against Seychelles.

SUPER EAGLES PLAYERS NOT JOINING BIG TEAMS IN EUROPE

I think we have a young team and if you look at the transfers, there have been good moves. Leon Balogun moved to Brighton from Mainz, which is a good move. Troost-Ekong is now with Udinese in Italy, Bryan Idowu too from Amkar Perm to Locomotiv Moscow and Ola Aina who was with Championship club, Hull City last season is now with Torino in Italy.

Then Kenneth Omeruo who joined Leganes in Spain on loan from Chelsea, Etebo who is now with Stoke City in England and Joel Obi from Torino to Chievo Verona.

One could argue that these clubs are among the top teams in Europe compared to where most of these players played last season, it has been a step up for them.

SUPER EAGLES NOT HAVING A PERMANENT HOME GROUND

I don’t think it is something that is ideal. Before the World Cup, we wanted to play at the Abuja Stadium, but it was not possible because the pitch was bad. I think the stadium is good, it’s just the pitch that needs to be put in proper shape.

When I was in Gabon, they played their home games in Libreville, Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou and Niger used their national stadium in Niamey.

I see no reason why we can’t play our home games in Abuja. As we were coming down this morning, I asked Victor Agali why we can’t play at the National Stadium in Lagos, for example.
It’s a good stadium which can be renovated and put into use.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 39
  • Chima E Samuels 3 months ago

    Stop the noise even a local coach will win Seychelles

  • Chima E Samuels 3 months ago

    And as usual I expect ighalo the man behind your pocket to score against small teams like Seychelles just to deceive people and loose against big teams. Won’t be surprised if ighalo pays the Seychelles defender to give him a chance to score a hatrick Ighalo Rohr and the big wigs in Nff are deceiving Nigerians

  • Am really happy with rohr decision and am sure we are going to beat seychells IJN.

  • Chairmanfemi 3 months ago

    I wonder what the problem with so-called football lovers are. .smh. They are never contented with aanything…..Well that life, they never seem happy with whatever you do.
    If Ighalo doesn’t score in China – They will complain and Criticize the hell outta him
    If Ighalo scores in China, They will say he’s scoring against cheap opposition and Cheap clubs.
    If Ighalo doesn’t score against Seychelles, they criticize him and asking for Rohr to be sacked.
    If He scores against Seychelles, someone he’s already here saying “why won’t he score against small teams” They even said he’s going to pay the Seychelles defenders…mtcheew. UNSATISFIABLE CREATURES.
    If Rohr wins Seychelles, they will say he only knows how to win small teams.
    If he doesn’t win, they will even ask for him to be killed and thrown into a dungeon. Then they will now come and face NFF.
    HUMAN BEINGS EHN
    Please if you only want to support Super Eagles just to throw blames at them for any step they take, Leave them alone and go on to support Nigeria Hockey team

  • mumitee 3 months ago

    chima I have been reading ur comments, pls let talk to these people with respect, after all all ur assumptions may be wrong

  • Chima is like you lack how to address people

  • Jensen Josh 3 months ago

    To be frank ighalo is not at his best…
    If he’s an England player do you think he will come close to 8th eleven pls lets say the truth here…
    He ought to put nigeria into round of 16 at the world cup.. if it was mo salah do you think he wont score the second chance he missed or a certain Sadio mane,they will both chip the ball over that goal keeper rather than slamming foot against the ball, if a striker is not performing you axe him and get another harry kane and the rest do they have two heads pls lets say the truth.

  • Gbich 3 months ago

    @Jesen Josh,unfortunately we do not have a Mo Salah, a certain Sane or a Harry Kane,we rather have an Ighalo. His form the Super Eagles has no doubt been poor but as it stand, he is our best striker based on the statistics of goal ratio among our tested strikers. He has 15 goals for his club and is the third highest goal scorer in the chinese league. The coach mist have put into consideration the fact that he has been in the team and has scored before and ao would be hoping that things change coupled with the fact he is acoring goals for this club. If you consider beinging in someone who has not being in the team and has not got the kind if stats Ighalo has,it will amount to gambling with the qualifiers which we can’t aford to. Honestly Ighalo has lost form for the Eagles and i am as concerned as everyone else is,i wish we had a striker in good form so we can confidently drop the misfiring Ighalo but we don’t. We can blame the coach all we can but he cannot manufacture a goal scorer for Nigeria he can only pick from what we have. I jusy pray that other playere step up their game like Ahmed Musa did at the world cup. If we have Musa scoring, Iwobi doing same and Iheanacho following suit then i bet you we would hadly notice Ighalo’s loss of goal scoring form. And who says our midfielders cannot give us goals occasionally? Troost Ekong has already scored for his former club this season and it would be welcome if he does same for the Eagles. The whole team including the coach know the importance of scoring goals ro win matches if they fail to win then it just simply means that we do not have quality players in this generation and should only pray that the ones we have keep improvin so they can add value ro the National team.

    • Ikeben 3 months ago

      The point is that he is not trying new strikers. Who say we don’t have other proven strikers, why will he live Simmy Nwankwo on the bench only to bring him in 2mins to the end of the match. While Ighalo is playing 90 mins or 45mins.

      Well the world cup is over,I just hope he has learnt from his mistakes. Now we still have some new proven scorers like Onyekwere or Kalu, I just hope he will be bold enough to use them

      • @Ikeben: Simmy nwankwo is an Average striker. If he was playing in the chinese league, he would be in a lower pecking Order compared to Ighalo. Simmy is slow and he just luckily picked a lil form late into world cup preparations and even at that he was still average. @GBICH is very right.

  • Chima E Samuels 3 months ago

    Tayo and his cohorts if you don’t know anything just remain silent and stop quoting me.

  • Omo9ja 3 months ago

    Nobody forced you to invited young players sir. If you need old and experienced players, we still have them. We have Utaka, Ike Uche, Kaita and so on. They are still playing active football.

    You won 1 out 3 matches and you said people told you that you have quality players in your team?

    Late coach Keshi team that played in Brazil 4 years ago wasn’t better than your team and they managed to qualified out of their group.

    Keep deceiving your people but not me.
    If you can prove yourself to me by winning the next Afcon in Cameroon and you go far at the next world cup then, I will be your no 1 fan again but if you do not, you will never deserve an accolade from me.

    I used to be your no 1 fan during the world cup qualifiers but after you qualified Nigeria to the world cup, you spoiled everything.

    That means, you can perform much better in Africa but not at the world stage. I know that politics played a lot to your final list which was your fault because to make a name in Nigeria, you have to be yourself. Put sentiments aside and do the right things.

    Can’t you do like Westerhof and late Keshi in terms of decision making? Anyways, no excuses in the end ooo. Good luck to you Mr. Rohr. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Chairmanfemi 3 months ago

    This Omo9ja is a pure enemy and has nothing meaningful to say concerning the Super Eagles. How can a reasonable being that understand football compare the squad we had in 2014 World cup to the one we have in 2018?? Bosnia&Herzegovina,Iran,Argentina to Argentina,Croatia,Iceland! We had the Eventual finalist in the last two world cup in this group o. Yet, someone is always busy piling blames on the Coach and asking for Utaka,Ike Uche and co. lol.

  • Sunnyb 3 months ago

    This fake coach again, always talking rubbish, inviting Ighalo, iheanacho, Onazi, Joel, would not solve the problem.I thought this Albino coach will give players like, Adeyemi, Igbekeme, Awoniyi, Danjuma, Matthew,.Ebere eze  a chance to prove themselves,Can iheanacho, ighalo, Onazi and the two Johns bring anything special to the super eagles?

    • If the gaffer bring those players u mention and they fail to win, na you go first shout

  • I wonder if some of you guys know the present form of these players you are clamouring for, the awoniyi of a guy i saw against Bordeaux was very poor, hes not ready for super eagles, missed 3 glorious opportunities that was gifted to him.
    Ighalo on the other hand doesnt deserve to wear super eagles jersey, he’s not clinical enough for nigeria though he scores regularly for his team in the chineese league that is not rated highly.

    • Very true, Awoniyi needs time to grow and is nowhere near ready. He should spend time in the B team first whilst he continues growing.
      Ighalo is not international class either. He has scored 4 goals in 22 matches, two in 2015, one in 2016 and one in 2017. By the time the match against the Seychelles comes it will be a full year since he scored for the SE. One goal per year is not good enough for a centre forward.
      S Nwankwo has not scored for club nor country since May and does not warrant a place on the bench. Akinyemi Adeleke who has scored 12 competitive goals (7 in the Europa qualifiers) deserves that spot. He is our most in form striker on the planet. Nwakaeme should be ahead of Iheanacho given that he has scored more competitive goals than Iheanacho since May, that he used to play with John Ogu is a bonus

  • Chima E Samuels 3 months ago

    Sunnyb omo9ja and realistic thinkers it’s high time we leave this forum for tayo and his cohorts because I see it as lack of wisdom and waste of energy sharing ideas with these guys here. Brainwashing things can’t help this country

    • The day you leave this forum would be the best thing ever to happen to the forum.
      It will be good riddance to arrogant rubbish.
      Mr millionaire.

      • Chima E Samuels 3 months ago

        Smelly talk you know nothing about sports all you do is read comments and insult people

  • Sunnyb 3 months ago

    Mike, but iheanacho, Onazi, Simy,Ighalo,are ever ready abi? 

  • Chairmanfemi 3 months ago

    Lol. I laugh in Swahili like Ayphyllydegreat will say. @Chima E Samuel,Omo9ja,Mike,Sunny B and all other Nay-sayers in this forum should please pack their load and leave. At least we will have positive-minded people aplenty in this forum.

  • Sunnyb 3 months ago

    @Chima, bro, we are not leaving  this forum for nobody, that’s why Nigeria is a failed stare today, all those useless goons ruling Nigeria today were the leftovers  Almajeris, Agberos, touts,Kidnappers,so bro don’t mind them ur humble opinions are well appreciated here.

  • Adija 3 months ago

    Rohr is very good. Critics shut up

  • Awoniyi is far better than Odion Ighalo, GR should stop ignoring young talents, he ought to be inviting them to be part of the team and build their confidence by featuring them in friendly matches and dying minutes of some competitive matches.
    Odion Ighalo captained our under 20 to 2009 tournament and could not score a goal, just like what he did at the World cup this year. It is better to start taking risk with the likes of Awoniyi Isaac Success, Simi Nwankwo, the Kanu look alike with Romans and some other up and coming players than to keep depending on old players pretending to be at their prime. Besides, GR is a lazy coach he does not really scout our players home and abroad The late Keshi injected local players into the team and they did not disappoint , it was a local player that scored the winning goal that delivered the nation’s cup to us in 2013, have we forgotten about the defence. Amokachi and Peter Rufai , Stephen Keshi, Agbonvbare, Etim Esin etc were already playing for Super Eagles before turning professionals abroad. Julius Aghahowa was a Bendel Insurance player when he was spotted in U20 team of 1999 that we hosted , though the team embarrassingly failed the National team coach was able to spot Aghahowa, inspite of the fact that he was only used as a winger all through the tournament he drafted him into the #9 position just few weeks later and Aghahowa took Africa by storm. Our coach need to wake, it was his laziness that made him gave
    automatic shirts to most players on the way to the World cup. Players should be made to fight for positions in the team.

  • Only #BigD has said something sensible and reasonable here. Go back and read his comments. I have not read your comments before o. This is your first time? If it is continue to post sensible comments like this. Tell us more about the goal scorer Akinyemi Adeleke. This guy seems to be a free goal scorer o. Rohr over to you.

  • balorx 3 months ago

    the problem with rohr is that he never learns from its mistake. that old man putting iheanacho ahead of akinyemi. iheanacho is a very poor striker. where is that stupid aphilly supporting q player who scored 3 goals in preseason but haven’t scored a goal in the main matched. i told you .

    expect iheanacho to play

  • My country people, I dont know how we go fit make Rohr to understand that Ighalo is not the best striker in nigeria. It is the duty of our coach to scout and discover a free scoring striker for nigeria. Everytime Ighalo, I am tired of Ighalo, a striker that manage to score 4 goals in 46 caps. Pls if Mr. Rohr is still keeping Agali as his scout. Abeg Nff should replace him before is too late. Nigeria are bless with free scoring strikers spreading all over the world.

  • The fact that he Iheanacho is not scoring doesn’t mean he is not good even big striker do experience goal drought at times.. as for Chima E Samuels, sunnyb, omo9ja etc aren’t u ashamed of urself why is it that only u always have negative mind? all u do is criticise and condemning, una no dey tire ni? not a must for u to comment cos u always create confusion and dampen people spirits with ur comments.. #fact

  • @tayo i hav came across ur comments many time, i think u shld stop making comment.

  • Ikponmwosa Ayewoh 3 months ago

    In any team you have senior players and junior players so also in different positions that is senior strikers,defenders or midfielders.You do not invite a junior player and drop the most senior player in the team.You invite the senior players and gradually introduce one or two younger players into the team.Let me refresh your memory prior to Russia world cup,Iheanacho was scoring goals for every games he played for Super Eagles right from the very first game for Nigeria senior team.He even scored in the games again Zambia in Ndala and Cameroon in Uyo but the same Iheanacho could not score against any of the team in the world cup it took a senior striker in the person of Ahmed Musa who continued from where he left it off in Brazil 2014.Had the coach dropped him because he had a bad season with Leicester City who would have scored against Iceland that held Argentina to a draw.another senior striker came to the rescue of Ighalo who was still a junior striker to Ahmed Musa in the team.Again Rashide Yekini of blessed memory was in the Green Eagles squad to Morocco 1988 AFCON that same 1988 he was in the football team to the Olympic game in Seoul,South Korea we lost to brazil 4-0 ,Yugoslavia 3-1 and Australia 1-0.Rashidi Yekini scored the only goal in that olympic.In the Afcon that same year Nigerian got to the final but lost to Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions 1-0 the following AFCON Algeria 1990 he played with Yekini,Friday Elahor,Emmanuel Okocha,Baldwin Bazuaye and a first timer Daniel Amokachi etc Yekini went on to become Nigeria highest goal scorer with three goals but lost to host Algeria 1-0 in the final.In Senegal 1992 Yekini had grown into the position of senior striker were we had the likes of Samson Siasia,Victor Ikpeba,Finidi George,Friday Elahor etc Yekini was top scorer in Senegal 92 In Tunisia 1994 he was again the highest goal scorer in addition to his goals qualifying Nigeria for it debut world and the nations cup the previous year.If Yekini was dropped from the team because of Nigerias woeful performance in the Olympic and younger strikers picked ahead of him or they drop senior players from the national team for him.Would nigeria have had memorable performances to our records would the daniel Amokachis,Emmanuel Amunikes had become better players in the Nigeria team.For transition in the team Odion Ighalo is important his presences in the team will help the younger players in his department play better and improve in playing as a team and build synergy between player.If you drop Ighalo and the person to take over his position on the field under performs then we drop him we will drop all our strikers.If we had dropped Yakubu Aiyegbeni after he missed a goal scoring opportunity in South Africa 2010 world cup will he have ended up as one of Nigeria national team highest goal scorer.Please Ighalo will be very important in our qualification for Cameroon 2019 AFCON so lets let him be.

  • Bomboy 3 months ago

    @Ikponmwosa Ayewoh, I must admit that you have a good football memory, but I still think Ighalo is not very dependable at this moment.

  • Shut de fuck up gernot rohr, i said earlier dis man wil never learn from his past mistakes, stil uptimistic of ighalo. useless being on earth.

  • Tequiero 3 months ago

    The issue I have with Nigerians is that you critise d best and praise d least.a lot of mediocres.ighalo still remains an important member if the team. Did same guy once played for Watford ( a mid table team) and was among d highest goal scorers of the prestigious English premier league.and he is still among d too scorers in china(a league dat contains some of d best players in d world). 

    Some are mentoining awoniyi and d likes who are only making average impression in there low cadet leagues. 

    As for GR, He is d best coach for SE. He assembled a team that narrowly lost out at d world cup due to d fact DAT referee didn’t award a penalty. Top strikers av lost better chances Dan DAT if ighalo, so was d bug deal. 

    He gave u new and dependable goal keeper wen ur hope was lost of a good gk. He gave u players like Balogun,Idowu,ola aina,Tyrone,and more. Wot else do u want.

    GR as transformed d SE.welldone GR.

  • Mr Progress 3 months ago

    Hay guys… it is time that we should forget about what happened in the world cup.what has happened has happened. we all knew that Igalo didn’t meet up to expectations in the tournament and does not deserve invitation to the national team of which I believed the coach is aware. But let look at situations team now. Victor moses one of the key players we have just retired,hence he is not going to be available; Mike Obi due recovery from injury will not be available These are players that understand our game and these guys are good in goal scoring, but are not going to be there.Now dropping Igalo in addition to absence Obi and moses,I think will not really help the team. I believed the coach meant have think and think before making the decision of inviting Igalo and other players that didn’t performed well in world cup but they still a team to look up to.so stinking to the world cup team is not a bad decision because those players know the game better.Remember in football no team is small.

  • yes i hav seen a weak brain, wit a weak post, how on earth someone wil post diz shit. once upon a time there was a nigerian striker who play 4 watford, he score 17 goals @epl. LET me also post a shit, #searching 4 creative midfielder OKOCHA was an europe best dribbler, and osazie was a good striker, martins. we shld bring dem back. 24 caps wit just 2 goals and 2 gifted spot kick goals, nd u ar talking of highest goalscorer chinese league a chinko league. so if u be a coach to find young talented, so u wil leave uzoho, alampasu? yes or no answer me. 4 ur info it was de effort of de fans (we) dat brought dat uzoho @TEQUIERO Fv

  • Which fans,lol na u help rohr find uzoho.nothing i no go see,agreed ighalo is not standard but which attacker can we say is good enough dat we can depend on.awoniyi u guys are talking about has scored just one goal since he signed for gent xo hw is he any better than ighalo.

  • Stop the hate! Awoniyi is not better than Ighalo. @Oluwa and his groups were the same people that criticized the hell outa Coach GR when he brought Uzoho to Super Eagles, now they are claiming they are the ones that help GR find Uzoho.

  • Sack Rohr now and go for Thierry Henry. GR has reached his peak. We need a change