By James Agberebi:
(photos by Ganiyu Yusuf)
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, says players who have been impressive in the Nigeria Professional Football League can start off with the home-based team who will soon begin preparation for the 2018 Championship for Africa Nations (CHAN).
Rohr stated this after watching top of the table clash between MFM FC and El-Kanemi Warriors on matchday 18 at the Agege Stadium Lagos on Sunday.
Speaking to the media after the game, Rohr said: "Concerning inviting some of the players I saw in the game between MFM and El-Kanemi, as you know, it is not easy to change a winning team," Rohr stated..
"We work with young and good players who have brought us to the top of our 2018 World Cup qualifying group. Though I have seen some players from MFM and El Kanemi who can come into the Super Eagles, but they have to work very much which is not easy. And for me, the first step is for them to start with the CHAN team.
"The CHAN team is a local Super Eagles team and some of these players I have seen might have the chance there.
"My assistants, Salisu (Yusuf) and Imama (Amakapabo) know all these players. Salisu was here some time ago and made report about what he saw. So we always want to have the best for the Super Eagles.
"Presently, we have a good Super Eagles team with young players and to be part of the team, you must be very strong."
Rohr stated further: "The door is open, and I am waiting for the selection of the CHAN team. Just like last year, I had a look at the team in Spain when the NPFL All Stars played there and I took two of them. So when somebody is playing well, he will have his chance."
On his impression about the MFM and El-Kanemi game, Rohr praised both Fidelis Ilechikwu (MFM) and Ladan Bosso (El-Kanemi) for their tactical awareness in the game.
"I was very interested in the tactical aspect of the game between MFM and El-Kanemi," Rohr said.
"Both teams had good organisation and they had chances to score goals without creating meaningful opportunity. So tactically, lthe two teams were organised and I appreciate them for that."
"So I was happy to see the game. It was a good game, very interesting game. The game was already over in the first half. Aside from the MFM vs El Kanemi game, I also saw two other teams on Sunday, two good teams with good players also.
"I am happy to have also seen some games that involved teams in the second division (NNL), it was very interesting too with young players with one of them coached by Victor Agali. From what I have seen so far in these games, I am impressed.
Commenting on why the Super Eagles will camp in France ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa, Rohr said it wouldn't be a good idea to allow the players go on break at the end of the football season.
"The reason why we want to camp in France ahead of the South Africa game is because the problem we have is that when the players finish the season in May, I can't let them go on a three week holiday and then ask them to come and beat South Africa.
"So we have our programme set out where we plan to play friendly games in order to prepare well against South Africa."
Rohr went on to dismiss the issue between Cameroon's coach Hugo Broos and their football federation (FECAFOOT) stressing that it won't be a factor when the Eagles host Cameroon in August.
"Cameroon is always a strong team and we also have to be very strong to beat them. I don't believe the issue with their coach (Hugo Broos) will be a problem for them because these problems are everywhere in Africa.
"The game will be decided on the field by 22 players. And we are happy that CAF has a new leader, so nothing can be manipulated and we are also happy that the NFF president (Amaju Pinnick) is elected into the Executive Committee.
"It is important that CAF organisation is objective. So I believe what will be decisve will be what happens on the pitch between the players."