WE DON’T HAVE EXCEPTIONAL PLAYERS- ROHR
In an exclusive interview with our International Sports Correspondent (Femi and The Gang- @fatgofficial) Salemfly Olusegun Salem (@Asalemfly), coach of The Super Eagles Gernot Rohr spoke about the Super Eagles, his football journey and the upcoming games against Seychelles and Egypt.
Read the full interview below:
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR FOOTBALL ADVENTURE IN EUROPE AND AFRICA.
Rohr: My football adventure started at Bayern Munich in Germany, where I won the Champions League in 1974. I played with the best of players at that time, I mean World Cup Winners like Muller, Bauer etc. I went to Bordeaux in 1977 where I played again in the Champions League, won the doubles in France, then we had a coach called Emile Zakky, who inspired me to become a coach. After my playing career at Bordeaux where I played for 12 years, I then went to train the academy of Girondin Bordeaux, then the first team which I trained on three occasions as we were promoted to the second tier of the French League in 1991. Because the club relegated then, I went to Eintracht Frankfurt in 1998, came back to France with Nice, Nantes then Ajaccio and in Africa, Etoile de Sahel, then to Gabon for the Nations Cup 2012 (2years), Niger (2 and a half years), then Burkina Faso in 2015 before coming to Nigeria in 2016.
AS THE SUPER EAGLES PREPARE FOR THEIR LAST NATIONS CUP QUALIFYING MATCH.. WHAT’S THE SITUATION OF YOUR PLAYERS IN THEIR VARIOUS CLUBS?.
Rohr: We obliged that players plays in their clubs and we have players in good form but we don’t have players in the Champions League like Mo Salah, Mane, Egyptians, Senegalese that plays in the big clubs. We have good players but not stars. We don’t have exceptional players again like the Okochas, Amokachis, Kanus, Taribo Wests (these are super players that played in the big clubs). We don’t have those names so we have to work with our strategies and state of mind with a young, solid, combative team that plays good football, since we don’t have stars. Obi Mikel hasn’t played since after the World Cup, Victor Moses stopped playing for the national team so we are left with young players that did well because we’ve already qualified for the Nations Cup.
KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT THE SUPER EAGLES HAVE ALREADY QUALIFIED BEFORE THIS MATCH... WHAT’S YOUR STATE OF MIND AS A COACH?.
Rohr: I’m happy to have qualified before the last match but we want to win this match, we want to beat Seychelles. On a small stadium (pitch) in Asaba, it’s difficult to play on it but we must score as it’ll be preparation for the Nations Cup because there won’t be any FIFA window again for friendly match. There’ll be a list of 28-30 players that’ll be made by May to choose from as we prepare for the Nations Cup, we have to pick the best.
THE INVITED PLAYERS ARE YOUR NORMAL TEAM EXCEPT PAUL ONUACHE (MIDTYLAND FC, DENMARK). IS IT A MESSAGE THAT YOU’D GOTTEN YOUR NATIONS CUP TEAM?.
Rohr: No! Unfortunately, we don’t have everybody because Kalu is injured, Ola Aina too is injured since yesterday (while playing for Torino over the weekend). We don’t have the best so we have to replace them with local players. The local players are 4: Ezenwa, Valentine (Central defender U20), Udoh (Captain U20), Effiok that came this morning to replace Ola Aina. We are trying to see what the local players can do during the training and on match day.
MIKEL OBI WASN’T INVITED IN SPITE OF HIS EXPLOITS AT MIDDLESBROUGH, IS IT A WAY OF GETTING RID OF HIM?.
Rohr: No! It’s not getting rid of him. A Mikel in form with his personality and leadership can be a very interesting captain. In view of that he must be 100% established, motivated and playing in the best of form.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE SUPER EAGLES SINCE YOUR ARRIVAL… GOOD / AVERAGE / EXCELLENT?
Rohr: I’ll say Good because we qualified rapidly for major tournaments especially the World Cup as we were unbeaten, and qualified for the Nations Cup with a match to play which hasn’t been the case in 4yrs. It smells nice because we have the youngest team in the world, we had the youngest team at the World Cup and probably at the forthcoming Nations Cup so it’s obvious its work for the future. I’m happy but we can do better.
YOU TOLD THE MEDIA RECENTLY THAT NIGERIA CAN’T WIN THE NATIONS CUP… WHY AND WHAT’S MISSING IN THE TEAM?
Rohr: We can’t say we want to win the Nations Cup because it takes humility, we must be humble, if you say you want to win the Nations Cup, others would wait for you with a gun to punish you. The ambition is not in words or talk, its on the field and that’s what interests me. There are better teams in Africa, we are number 4 or 5 in the FIFA ranking, and we have Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, and Senegal which are above us. Egypt is playing at home then you say, you want to win the Nations Cup? Its not speech, we are humble, we want to win, we feel like winning but saying we’ll win it, its not my words.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO TEACH YOUR TEAM THE NEW FOOTBALL RULES WHICH WOULD BE EFFECTIVE FROM 1ST JUNE 2019?.
Rohr: The new rules of the games? There will be Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which would be introduced but the others are normal, same football rules.
THE QUICK 5- YES OR NO?
IF YOU HAVE THE POWER, WOULD YOU OBLIGE VICTOR MOSES TO COME BACK TO THE SUPER EAGLES?
IF YOU FAILED AT THIS NATIONS CUP, WOULD YOU RESIGN?.
Rohr: It depends on the failure.
THE SEYCHELLES MATCH, IS IT A MUST WIN?
Rohr: Yes! Its an obligation to do everything to win.
HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO VINCENT ENYEAMA RECENTLY? IF YES, IS HE COMING BACK TO THE NATIONAL TEAM?
IF YOU WERE TO HAVE AN EXCELLENT CONTRACT OUTSIDE NIGERIA, WOULD YOU LEAVE IMMEDIATELY?
Rohr: Sighs!... No.
Nigeria take on Seychelles in their final group game in Asaba this weekend after securing qualification for the AFCON Tournament slated for Egypt later in the year.