Russia 2018 World Cup: Rohr’s anxiety over Croatia’s dare devil midfielders

By Daily Sports on April 9, 2018

Views: 14,230

This writer is one that does not believe in shadow chasing at any given time, no matter whose ox is gored. We belong here and will never pretend all is well, it is obviously not. The hen has come home to roost. The home truth is that the polity is being heated each day by the Buhari government while his clappers and clowns are challenging the people that voted him into office in 2015. There is a tug of war going on right now. Nigeria is on verge of to be or not to be. It is not a cold war. The era of cold war is over. The beans have been spilled. This tug of war will be full blown as the run up to the 2019 election draws close. It will be battle line drawn between Buhari and the entire establishment that enthroned him – from Generals Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Yakubu Gowon, TY Danjuma, Abdualsalami Abubakar, Ibrahim Gusau and their civilian counterparts without any military background led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Fact is that Buhari would be swept away with the same kind of wild wind of conspiracy that brought him to power. We all know that such ill-advised arrangement never stands the test of time.

When that zero hour comes, the Lai Mohammeds, Ahmed Tinubus, Femi Adesinas, Garba Shehus, El-Rufais, Chibuike Amaechis, Senator Abdullahis, Boss Mustaphas and all that are currently drumming up support for Buhari will not be on the ringside not to talk of the spectators stand to witness Buhari’s all-round humiliation. He has dared the establishment he went to beg in 2015 to give him a chance to fulfill his ambition. They are obviously displeased with his performance and their body language says it all.

They will not live to see Buhari go back to Aso Rock Villa, never. We will see the worst in days to come if Buhari allows himself to be dragged further into the ring against these lions. He has since lost whatever little goodwill of the people that remained because he subjected them to untold hardship and untimely deaths since his second coming in May 29, 2015. Nigerians are like walking corpses under his watch and have kept asking Buhari: When will this pain end?

However, our collective resolve is that he must not use his mess to come near the Super Eagles World Cup planning and preparations. Nothing must stop proper funding of the team to Russia, his failed second term or not. Eagles must get full attention and well positioned too. The players and their handlers must be focused and nothing best suits such stance. Period.

No doubt the heat is already on the coaches of various countries whose teams will file out at the June 2018 World Cup Football summit in Russia.

Truth is that after the few world class friendly matches, some of these head coaches have learnt a lot and preliminarily discovered that they after all parade shallow squads instead.

They have also learnt that the impending World Cup show down won’t be an easy one as the round leather sport has grown tremendously that there is no minion any longer.

The few friendly games that took place also prompted them to think aloud that if that was to be the championship proper, they may have been caught unawares. Nigeria’s Super Eagles played two games against Poland and Serbia respectively. The result are already in the public domain and our very hard working coach, Gernot Rohr,  one man that the World Cup project mattered a whole lot has been on the road. He has been thinking aloud and scratching his head on how he would get not only sharp shooters but dependable midfielders and reliable defenders that would stand the test of time to displace more imaginative opponents in the tournament proper.

Rohr has not hidden his frustrations and has openly expressed fears over the very dangerous mid-fielders that our opponent, Croatia would unleash on the Eagles come June16. The lads are rich in knowledge on the act and highly imaginative midfielders whose wealth of experience hold sway and could frustrate their opponents to their team’s advantage.

He has never minced words as he is not one for flying a kite. He is a very serious minded thinker and does not cry wolf where there is none. Fact is that since he took up the plum Super Eagles job, he knew he is in for it. He knew that he would do extra work and also go extra mile if he must get results. He is aware of these and many more hiccups that surround Nigerian Super Eagles job. He has not complained or remained lame duck; rather he has been strong, carrying on as if it is not this very difficult Super Eagles job. He has performed and moved on. However, the Croatia World Cup lineup creates big concern for Rohr so far. He is not laughing about it. He sees the known team trio as deadly and dare devil like top strikers and midfielders of note. They ply their trade in European top club sides and have proved their mettle. They are Ivan Perišić (Inter Milan, Calcio A) Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona, La Liga) Luka Modric (Real Madrid, La Liga). Theirs are water tight when they are on the field. That was why Rohr decried their presence and so has gone down searching for antidote. So help him God. Nigeria with her over 190 million people is assumed to have players scattered across the globe. We should be able to get some players that would act what Emeka Ezeugo did during US 1994 World Cup for the Clemens Westerhof team. Rohr has left no one in any doubt of his readiness and good mind to make this World Cup great. He started on fresh and determined note and his hard work should be rewarded, the presence of the above named players in Croatia line up notwithstanding. Eagles have their own surprises to spring up and have been termed no push over team. The squad is not lagging in their preparations also. NFF leadership and the FG are solidly backing the team for even greater outing in Russia. Corporate bodies have come up to say Go, Eagles and perform.

His watchword has been finding solutions instead of creating confrontations and fault finding devices which others before him had  most times with naughty NFF leadership. His work ethics paid off against bookmakers little chance of qualification for the Super Eagles. He put his feet on ground and worked himself out with the full cooperation of the players.

But as you are reading this, the Franco-German technical hand, is growing more grey hairs for this Russia tournament and against Croatia he has not hidden the fact that the country parades some of the most reliable midfielders that can easily be referred to as game changers. He has said it pointedly that the Croatia midfielders’ worries him but being a never say die gaffer who has also come a long way, he has not folded his hands. He has spread his tentacles for effective counter offensive. He has got down for another search and work. The other day as if to reinforce Rohr’s decisiveness, ex-international and one of Super Eagles official scouts, Victor Agali, was quoted to have said that new strikers would join the team.

It dawned on me that Rohr’s counter offensive may begin from there. It further showed that the former German player isn’t going to Russia to just answer World Cup coach and come back. It went further to show him as a great worker and fighter of the first order. One prays that the cool headedness and cooperation NFF leadership has displayed so far continue to hold water and enough fund released for every step that would make the Super Eagles team and players get their acts perfectly together for the raw real deal.

The friendly game against Serbia has opened up many weak areas and also showed us the second-eleven team is not yet there. It showed the need for likes of more Victor Moses, John Mikel Obi while the problematic goalkeeping area is being seriously tackled head on. It is a whole lot of workload to bring the Nigerian side to World Cup standard which is no mean job. Rohr has shown he has character and also equal to the uphill task. The road thus far has been rough and preparing for what you can safely call build up stage to the World Cup proper is even rougher because the more you plan, the higher the stakes.

When the stage is finally set, the traditional World Cup teams and their countries would be the frontliners while the emerging countries with their teams threatening to upstage the status quo are bent on plotting to make real their statement. Football has gone beyond one team or country dominating all year round, no way.  Things have changed in the game for good and to the admiration of the owners of the sport, the players, fans and few other stakeholders. There will be up sets and new teams are on their wings to take over some of the front line space by force.

Rohr is a calculated worker and planner. He has avoided situations of being caught unawares hence he started his campaign early enough before it becomes too late for everyone involved and as one on the driver’s seat, he ensures much time is spared to find solution. That is how it should be. Since his arrival, he devoted his time getting players of Nigeria extraction to lace their boots for their fatherland. It has paid off handsomely though few players turned down such offer but I hope their mistake dawns on them later. The World Cup 2022 in Dubai is another day for such undecided players.

Nigeria’s head coach is not leaving anything to chance. The menace of the trio from Croatia in the mid of the pack which is the heart or engine room of the team gives Rohr sleepless nights. These boys are not only exceptional midfielders, they score goals with ease. These qualities have come to become the headache of Gernot Rohr as his team prepares to confront the dreaded team head long. He knows that not getting what it takes to neutralise them may prove costly and that it is the major reason why all hands are on deck for such task. He did not hide his trepidation. It showed he is on top of who’s who in our opponents’ line up. He is a great game study.

We are mindful of the tension that associates with buildup of championship of this high nature where the best is the only language understood. It is never a breeding ground for the learner but only for the already made. Our handlers are active though, so let’s keep discussing it and enlightening ourselves the more. Keep shooting hard, till next week!!

Source Daily Sports

Posted April 9, 2018

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