Despite setting a new record as Nigeria’s longest-ever senior men’s national team manager, Gernot Rohr’s five years continue to receive more knocks than kudos. A small section of the Nigerian football public believes that the 68-year-old should at least see out his contract and play the competitions he has so far qualified for. Others, vehemently peddling #RohrMustGo, #RohrOut hashtags on social media believe that he has reached a point of no return with the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
With the Super Eagles’ mediocre performances in the final qualifying group games ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoffs bringing the German tactician’s job to the fore again, Ayoola Kelechi and Jidechi Chidiezie discuss what the future of Nigeria’s head coach and national team should be.
1. Gernot Rohr deserves more time with the Super Eagles
Fact. The results, especially recently, haven’t always come the way fans have wanted but they have come still. It might seem unfair to Gernot Rohr to have him lead the Super Eagles to the African Cup of Nations without giving him the chance to lead them at the tournament proper.
It is rumored that his contract contains a clause that says he has to win the AFCON in Cameroon and that could/should be the ultimate litmus test for his continuity with the Super Eagles. If he fails to do it, then there would be an iron-clad reason to get rid of him and that would still leave enough time for a new manager to take the reigns ahead of the final round of World Cup qualifiers in March.
If he happens to pull through with the AFCON trophy, then maybe we have been wrong about him and he deserves even more time at the helm.
Fiction. This has got to be the biggest lie told in 5 years – since the appointment of Rohr. Anyone who suggests that after spending five years managing the Super Eagles, coach Gernot Rohr still deserves more time being at the helm of the men’s football national team is either being delusional that things would get any better or simply not a fan of Nigeria’s football teams.
Imagine suggesting that the man who has stayed longer than Clemens Westerhof – 1994 AFCON winner and took Nigeria to 5th in world rankings, Stephen Keshi – 2013 AFCON winner and equaled Nigeria’s best World Cup finish, & Shuaibu Amodu – qualified Nigeria for 3 World Cups, should stay on despite failing to achieve what his predecessors achieved in less time.
2. The Super Eagles were boring fans to death
Fact. There is more intrigue in watching grass grow than watching the Super Eagles play these days and this is the biggest indictment of Gernot Rohr.
The fact that we have a squad filled with players who on their day are able to excite makes the situation even worse. That he has picked up the habit of failing to invite players (especially attacking) who can raise the quality of football in favour of old heads who hold the team back makes it perhaps the worst imaginable situation.
There is so much more to expect from the Super Eagles and we need to see much better displays than battling to a 1-1 draw at home to Cape Verde.
Fact. They are! And the only thing that can be blamed for this? The tactics of Gernot Rohr. The Super Eagles’ brightest days under Rohr were his early days when they trounced the likes of Seychelles 3-0, Liberia 2-1, and Libya twice 4-0 and 3-2 – Rohr’s best winning streak of four games between September 8, 2018, and October 16, 2018. But all that has become history as the Super Eagles either struggle to grind out 1-0 or 2-0 winnings or even settle for draws under Rohr.
If this was the way Westerhof made “5th best team in the world”, then maybe the team’s performance might have been excused. But it wasn’t. Sticking to regular starters every time, and refusing to resort to more exciting invited players from time to time is the reason Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles could be termed as one of the most boring in recent years.
3. Nigeria won’t be at the World Cup in Qatar
Fact. Not playing the way we won’t. Unless something changes in the way we approach games, it’s difficult to see us getting past most of the sides that have made it to the final round of the World Cup Qualifiers. Despite having one of the easiest groups on paper, the Super Eagles still managed to make
If we don’t get our acts right before then, there’s almost no chance we will make it through to the World Cup even if we end up facing the weakest teams in the last round of qualifiers.
Fiction. This is a two-way thing. Fiction because I don’t see Rohr guiding us to Qatar. I expect his job to be taken away from him before the playoffs kick-off in March. But should the Franco-German maintain his job at the time of the playoffs, then I’d have to change my stance and call this a fact.
With the caliber of African teams in the final stage of World Cup qualifiers, playoffs would be a steep test for the Super Eagles. But since the African Cup of Nations comes just before that, I believe Rohr would be judged based on these grounds. Should he perform and stay on, then we might just have a chance at qualifying for the World Cup. But because I expect his poor tactics to rub off on the individual brilliance of the team, we just might fail to perform at the AFCON, and in turn, carry such performance to the World Cup playoffs.