By Kayode Ogundare:
Photo by Ganiyu Yusuf:
After overseeing a 1-0 win for Nigeria over Tanzania in his first competitive game as Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr has now shifted his attention to the qualification series of the 2018 World Cup which kicks off in October and reckons that Nigeria will be more motivated to fight for the group’s sole ticket having missed two consecutive Africa Cup of Nations competitions, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The German coach claimed that the Tanzania game was just a dress rehearsal for the qualifiers in a group which has heavyweights Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
He said: “Tanzania match had no value for us. It was a preparation game. Now we can start preparing to go to the World Cup in Russia. We have four very good teams in the group with Algeria, Cameroon and Algeria but Nigeria is not going to the AFCON for the second time in a row so that is all the motivation we need to win the World Cup ticket.”
The 63-year old former coach of Burkina Faso and Niger also restated his confidence in the ability of his players to reach the World Cup in 2018.
“Nigeria have good players all over the world and we have the task of bringing as many players as we can to get a good team. I will even look at the Nigerian Premier League for as many players as I can. We already have six players from the Olympic team here and the captain of the Olympic team is also my captain. So I think we are well covered. The challenge is to get a good team with good defence, good midfield and good attack,” he said.
Rohr further harped on the need to start preparations early because of the hardwork involved in getting the World Cup ticket.
“The time is short but the work is much. We have four good teams all capable of getting the ticket but we want it most because we are the ones who have not played any competition for a long time. So we must get ready in good time,” he concluded.
Nigeria have been drawn in Group B of the African qualifiers with perennial rivals Cameroon, Africa’s best-ranked team Algeria, and Southern Africa powerhouse Zambia and the Super Eagles will begin their quest for a sixth World Cup appearance with an away match against the Chipolopolo of Zambia on October 3.