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Rohr: Eagles Are Underdogs Vs Cameroon; Need Senegal, Ghana/Morocco Friendlies

Rohr: Eagles Are Underdogs Vs Cameroon; Need Senegal, Ghana/Morocco Friendlies

 

By James Agberebi:

 

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr says the Super Eagles being the underdogs ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualfiers against African champions Cameroon will be to the Nigeria's favour.

 

The Eagles are top of Group B on six points after winning their first two games against Zambia and Algeria.

 

Cameroon on their part are second on two points, four points adrift of the Eagles.

 

Speaking after returning from the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, where he went as a pundit, Rohr told the Nigeria Football Federation in an interview on their YouTube channel that Cameroon emerging as champions is a welcome development. 

 

Rohr also spoke about the upcoming friendly games, preparation for the 2018 CHAN qualifiers and his experience so far staying in Nigeria.

 

"It was a very good experience in Gabon because I saw a lot of games and good level of football," Rohr said. "Also I was able to analyse the general level of African football. The best teams were there, unfortunately we were not there but I think we are better than some teams that were there.

 

"I'm happy to be there because I saw all the games live at the stadiums. There was a lot of information for me especially about Cameroon and Algeria.

 

"The best team which is Cameroon won. They were really the best team, they had the best team spirit and the best kind of football. I would like to say congratulations to them. They did a good job. They started slowly, it wasn't easy for them to qualfiy from their group that had Gabon, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau. 

 

"Cameroon have a good mentality, they never give up. They are physically strong, technically, they play good football. And also they have a very good coach because the team that started the tournament was not the one that finished it, which means there was an evolution in the team. 

 

"I like this idea of us being the underdogs. And the players now know that it will be difficult because I spoke with some of them, everybody has now seen Cameroon and they all know that they are a big team. It will be a magnificent thing to beat the African champions.

 

"I'm not afraid of Cameroon because I believe we can beat them in Uyo in August. They will be favourite now in the two games because they are African champions and we did not play in Gabon, and don't forget they will be in Russia for the Confederations Cup.

"But the good thing is that it will be difficult for them because they won't have many holidays to rest. What is positive for them is that they were together for five to six weeks ahead of the Cup of Nations, they played six games and became better as they progressed which is normal. But the Super Eagles did not do anything together. We were only monitoring our players in their clubs.

 

Rohr then stated the importance of playing friendly matches against top teams before facing Cameroon. 

 

He added: "But we are fresh and will be happy to be together in March for the two friendly games we will play. And talking about that, we want to have two big friendly games one against one of the biggest teams in Africa, Senegal, who were unlucky to lose on penalties at AFCON. So we will play them first in London in March which will be a big test for us.

 

"The second team could be Ghana or Morocco because they play very good football too. So we will play these friendly games before facing South Africa which is very important because we are not only focusing on Cameroon. And this is why I think the friendly with Ghana will be interesting because not only are they similar in language but also in terms of football.

 

"So we will go step by step. We want to integrate new players in our team and we need the two friendlies in March to help them fit into the team.

 

"My assistants have been watching different league games while I was in Gabon. Salisu (Yusuf) will be in charge of the home-based while I will only be his adviser. 

 

"We have a very good team for CHAN and some of the players can be elevated to the main Super Eagles team, it is a possibility. And we will watch the qualifiers between Benin Republic and Togo in order to have a good chance of qualifying for the next CHAN.

 

"So far I am enjoying my stay in Nigeria. I have spent some time in Lagos, I watched the Federation Cup final. I was in Abuja for the Super Cup, came back to Lagos and went to Balogun market, it was wonderful, a lot of crowd who were shouting " you must beat Cameroon", it was wonderful. And I took some pictures which I will send to Leon Balogun." 

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