The signs had been there all along, even right from the choice of Gernot Rohr as the coach of the Super Eagles. Concerned sentries kept on shouting that the team was not in good shape. At best, it was a mere ensemble of players, lacking in leadership, direction and competition. The worst of it all was the shallowness of the technical management of the team.
I am convinced that the Super Eagles are way above the technical competence of Rohr. With the poor results since he was hired, we need no further evidence to conclude that he is an inadequate choice for the biggest managerial chair in African football.
Quite amazingly, Amaju Pinnick and his colleagues on the board of the Nigeria Football Federation made it a cardinal policy of their tenure to stick with the German despite not repaying them with silverware. Till today, Rohr has no title to his name, and comes several shades lesser than a number of his predecessors.
He has no big victory that excites the memory except one, the 4-0 win over the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon enroute Russia 2018 World Cup. But he has let himself been dragged into the abyss of an unwanted opprobrium with the incredible meltdown of his team to the lowly Sierra Leone in the Leone Stars’ comeback from 4-0 to snatch a point right at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
The signs had been there but the NFF ignored it. Even though Covid-19 affected the number of matches the Super Eagles have played, the team has not won a single game this year. In the two international friendly matches they played before the ill-fated qualifier against Sierra Leone, the Eagles lost 0-1 to Algeria and drew 1-1 with Tunisia.
The cookie crumbled at our backyard in Benin when Rohr’s troops led the Leone Stars 4-0 in the first 30 minutes but ended up drawing 4-4 shamefully at regulation time. Rohr has thus written his name into the wrong side of Nigerian football lore. The unforgivable aspect is that the opposition was not a strong one. Were the opponents to be a weighted one like Algeria, Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana or South Africa, it would still have been scandalous.
Most unfortunately, the NFF failed to do the needful after the Eagles capitulated meekly to the superior tactics of the visitors. It was too apparent that the Stars capitalised on the weaknesses of the Eagles to stage a comeback. It was even more glaring that the Nigerian bench failed to react appropriately to the surge from the opponents. While the visitors’ bench was forging a revival, the Nigerian bench was snoring. It was pathetic.
The natural thing to do was to sack the slumberer but what did the NFF do? They merely read the riot act to Rohr and incredibly backed him to carry on!
The result is a bedlam waiting to happen. The Eagles managed not to lose the return leg in Freetown but the damage to their capability to deliver is already simmering underneath. The man who is supposed to transmit energy to the team was lost in strange admiration of the feeble opposition. Rohr was warning before the game that it will be difficult because the host has a good team. Hear him, “We wanted to secure four points from the two matches to qualify, which is still possible. I believe in my team, I think we can do it, but it will be difficult like I said before the last match, we saw in the second half that they have a good team.”
In the end, he got only two points out of eight. I am in pains, serious pains. Pinnick compounded my misery when, instead of sacking Rohr, he said that he would hold a talk with him! He was even reported to have intervened when it looked like some players and coaches were trying to mutiny against Rohr over the way he was handling the team!
There is a report that senior players accused the German of not understanding the flow of the game against Sierra Leone in Benin and therefore could not make effective changes. In contrast, the Sierra Leonean coach made three changes that turned the game in favour of his team.
Remarkably, the Leone Stars had a preponderance of local players, a theme that is anathema to Rohr. If I were in charge, I cannot trust my national standard to the hands of a coach who does not believe in players plying their trade at home. I cannot trust a coach who does not let competition rule his squad selection.
It is not Gernot Rohr’s fault that we are suffering this debacle. He did not employ himself. Neither did he reappoint himself. Those who did are the ones to blame. He ought not to be employed in the first place. His performance did not merit being reappointed. So, why wouldn’t he give us pains?
You want to share a story with us? You want to advertise? You need publicity for a product, service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp – +234 803 3018 881