Social media was flooded with quotes and hashtags of people calling for the Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to be sacked by the NFF after failing to beat Cape Verde in Lagos.
Goals from Super Eagles shining light Victor Osimhen in the first minute and an equaliser from the Cape Verde team five minutes later was enough for Nigeria to qualify as one of the seeded teams for the playoffs coming up in March 2022.
The game ended 1-1 despite late flurry of attacks from the Cape Verde players as the Eagles defence hung on for the draw.
In truth it wasn’t the best of performances, but the team got what they wanted before the game which was to qualify to the playoffs.
In a similar fashion, the African champions Algeria, played a 2-2 draw at home to Burkina Faso but yet celebrated because they qualified for the playoffs.
Their fans joined the players in celebrating, but everyone aside the players left the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos unhappy.
In truth people are entitled to their opinions, but I’ll like to ask some questions that I hope in this article might change your mind if you can answer them without bias.
1. Who do we employ? Local or foreign coach?
Which qualified local coach do you guys think is good enough to be saddled with the responsibility of leading the Super Eagles that we know or believe will do better than Gernot Rohr?
We have had the likes of Augustine Eguaveon, Samson Siasia, Amodu Shiabu, Sunday Oliseh and Stephen Keshi (of blessed memory) who won the 2013 AFCON with the Super Eagles with a mixture of home-based players.
Which in truth the style of play wasn’t the most beautiful but fortunately was effective.
Prior to that AFCON, the then vice-captain Vincent Enyeama was asked what he would do if Super Eagles went on to win the competition and he responded by saying that he would strip naked, because he and the players never believed they would win the competition especially after what happened after their third group game against Ethiopia in which they won thanks to two late penalty goals from Victor Moses, where the late coach Stephen Keshi was said to have been insulted, abused and humiliated in front of the players at full time because of how poor the team had played throughout their first three matches.
The team then surprisingly defeated a strong Ivorian team led by Didier Drogba in the quarterfinal 2-1 with goals by Emmanuel Emenike and Sunday Mba.
The Super Eagles then had their best game of the entire tournament in the semi-final against Mali 4-1.
Thankfully, Super Eagles won the final through Sunday Mba’s goal for Nigeria to win their third AFCON, but in truth, that performance wasn’t the best but it was effective.
2. Which foreign coach will be able to tolerate the nonsense that Gernot Rohr is currently taking from Government, ex-internationals and fans alike?
I asked this question because the quality of coaches that people are clamouring for are entirely out of reach because the NFF cannot pay them and besides I don’t think they will allow players to be forced on them, like Amaju Pinnick did with the Odion Ighalo recall to the Eagles when we have the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi, who is currently the 5th top scorer in the German Bundesliga.
How many of the so-called quality or top coaches would endure being owed for eight months?
3. What’s the actual Super Eagles style of play?
Because as long as I can remember the last time The Super Eagles of Nigeria played attractive or free- flowing football was at the U.S.A. 1994 World Cup. Since then we haven’t had a team like that, but we want the Super Eagles to play like them.
Truth be told the current Super Eagles setup is blessed with youthful and skillful players, but my question is are they the best in Africa now? Where do they play in Europe? Which club do they play for? How many of them play in the UEFA Champions League?
Now compare these players with players of Senegal, Algeria and Morocco you will see that we actually don’t have the best players in Africa, like some persons would want us to believe.
4. Some persons complain of him not winning any trophy so far despite being on the job for long.
How many competitions has Rohr played with the Super Eagles?
Considering the fact that Super Eagles had missed the last two AFCON before the 2019 competition, the team not only qualified but finished third.
After which he also qualified the Super Eagles to the 2018 World Cup without stress in a formidable group comprising of three other African champions in Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
In truth the Super Eagles didn’t have the best competition at the World Cup, but they were very close to qualifying to the knockout stage only to fall to a late Marcos Rojo goal.
Now compare them to Africa’s most successful team Egypt, who went out without any point in a group with hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia.
Morocco also went out with one point, Tunisia three points like us, Senegal with four points in a tight group.
5. Some people are also urging Rohr to bringing more home-based players because they believe that they will improve the team.
Do we have a good league that good enough players can be drafted to the Super Eagles? Because we have seen that the calibre of players here aren’t good enough for CAF competitions talk more of the Super Eagles squad.
Who do you think can be dropped from the current crop of players in the Super Eagles squad?
Yet some of you are still asking the coach to invite Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze of Crystal Palace.
One area I would suggest for Rohr to work on is his midfield because it seems to be short of bodies.
We have seen in the past when Rohr used a defender in Semi Ajayi in playing the defensive midfield role, but recently he invited Frank Onyeka of Brenford and Innocent Bonke of Malmo FF of Sweden.
Another area that the coaches should also work on is the defence because the partnership of Troost Ekong and Leon Balogun seems to be the best we have, but in all honesty the tend to struggle when the play against pacy strikers.
I would also suggest that Kelvin Akpoguma should be given a chance to show what he can do in defence especially for the aging Leon Balogun, who hasn’t been impressive recently.
Gernot Rohr may not be the best coach out there, but he’s currently the best we can afford now and he’s still better than all our local coaches, both based on tactics and coordinating of the team without problems ala Sunday Oliseh and Co.
At least we still remember how the late Stephen Keshi was hounded out in a similar fashion despite winning the AFCON for Nigeria both as a player and coach.
By Yakubu Uzoma Muhammad