By Kayode Ogundare in Uyo:
Coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria Gernot Rohr has explained how he came about his provisional 30-man squd for the World Cup and also revealed why teenage sensation Kelechi Nwakali was not included.
“It (the list) was not of my own making alone. I have backroom staff, including the medical team and I gathered all of them in my house. We looked at the players one by one and asked what qualities they have, and how they will complement the other players,” Rohr explained during a media briefing in Uyo on Friday.
“Of course I looked first at the players who were with us for the qualifiers but then I also looked at other players who have done well for their clubs. That’s why you see players like Junior Lokosa who is doing very well in the Nigerian league and Simy Nwakwo who had an excellent season in Italy.”
The German-born coach also revealed why Nwakali was not in the squad. Football fans had queried why the former Golden Eaglet star was not included, particularly after he put up a five-star performance against Atletico Madrid in last Tueday’s friendly international.
Rohr said: “Nwakali is a good player. I knew him before now and he was in my list of 35 players. We had a team of 50 players which we pruned down to 35 and then 30. By the time he played against Atletico, we had already submitted the 30-man list on May 14 and the game against Atletico was on May 22 so it was too late to include him. He’s in my plans and definitely he will be invited after the World Cup.”
Rorh also hinted that new invitees Lokosa and Nwakwo will get the chance to prove their mettle in Monday’s friendly international against Congo DR in Port Harcourt.
“We will see them on Monday and hopefully they will make a case for their inclusion with their performance against Congo DR and even if they don’t get to be selected, they would have learnt valuable lessons from training with the team. But I have been impressed so far with their performances,” he said.