Nigeria bosses must leave Gernot Rohr to do his job

By Daily Sports on June 30, 2018

Views: 565

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr turned 65 on Thursday, two days after his Super Eagles team suffered a gut-punch style elimination from the World Cup at the hands of perennial nemeses Argentina.

What a perfect birthday present it would have been for the German if his team had managed to keep the Argentines at bay for a few minutes longer to seal a place in the World Cup round of 16.

Instead, they were left ruing missed opportunities and packing their bags to head home, and Rohr was left to reflect on a somber day, as most of his players dispersed to various parts of Europe, while a few waited to board their flight home to Nigeria.

As if those rueful ruminations were not bad enough, there have been calls in certain quarters In Nigeria for Rohr to be relieved of his duties.

Commentary in the media have dwelled on the German's failure to make the tactical and personnel changes required in the last few minutes to batten the hatches and hold on for the point that would have seen the Super Eagles advance.

Comparisons have also been made with the last World Cup in Brazil, where the late Stephen Keshi, a home-grown coach, took Nigeria to the round of 16 with way less support and preparation than Rohr had with the current squad.

All of this sacking talk completely misses the mark by failing to see the big picture, and instead, reverting to the same knee jerk reaction that follows every World Cup disappointment.

Why this should even be up for conversation points to Nigeria's, and perhaps, Africa's continued failure to establish anything beyond a tenuous toehold on world football's biggest stage. No African side has reached the last 16 in Russia.

In 1994, after Clemens Westerhof had spent the previous five years building what amounts to Nigeria's Golden Generation, he was frustrated into leaving immediately after the country exited that tournament.

Between the start of qualifying for the World Cup in 1998 and the end of the tournament, Nigeria had three coaches. Bora Milutinovic, who eventually led the team to France, barely waited for the final ball to be kicked before going on his merry way.

In 2002, Shuaibu Amodu negotiated a tortuous qualifying route, but was given the boot before Adegboyega Onigbinde was handed the reins for the tournament proper, and he took a scalpel to the squad. By the end of the tournament, he too made way.

For the 2010 tournament, Amodu again successfully guided the Super Eagles through qualifying hoops, and went as far as making it to the World Cup draws before he too was shown the door with months to go to the tournament. Swede Lars Largerback led the team to South Africa in his place, and was off back to Sweden by the time the final whistle went.

This cycle of hire, fire, repeat and reboot every four years does near irreparable damage both to the psyche of players, and the continued good health of the national team. Players are required to adjust to a new boss almost every other year, learning new tactics, working under different regimens.

Sometimes, on-field personnel changes that a new coach implements breaks up the existing rhythm, making it difficult for players to build any lasting chemistry.

And then there is that much-recycled word whenever a new coach takes the reins: "rebuilding". Onigbinde, Christian Chukwu, Amodu, Samson Siasia, Keshi, Sunday Oliseh and more recently Rohr.

Since 2002, Nigeria has been stuck on a seeming time warp of 'rebuilding'. And yet, the same core group of players form the nucleus of the team each time. Only Rohr, so far, has had the courage to break from the mold and actually work towards a proper long term plan by keeping his focus on young players.

He has significantly lowered the average age of the squad, found, developed and blooded a talented teen in Francis Uzoho, who could end up manning the goalpost for maybe the next 15-odd years, and introduced a style of play that appears to be the best way to exploit the personnel at his disposal.

In doing so, he qualified for the World Cup unbeaten in the face of strong opposition from a cast of past and present African champions. His team may have looked listless against Croatia, but second half friendly performances in the buildup to the World Cup, and games against Iceland and Argentina, showed that there is a spine, purpose and method to the madness.

With a few additions and subtractions to the squad, this team could be well-positioned to become the second Golden Generation of Nigerian football. Trying to toss all of that overboard for the sake of a reboot would be just plain illogical.

By far the best way to celebrate Rohr's birthday is to leave him alone to carry on with the job he has done so far. It would be the best gift Nigerian Football could give Rohr, not to mention Super Eagles players and fans. (ESPN)

•Photo shows Gernot Rohr

Source Daily Sports

Posted June 30, 2018


You may also like...
Hamilton rules out Vettel joining Mercedes

Ronaldo Escapes UCL Ban for ‘Cojones’ Celebration

Arsenal holds talk to sign Onyekuru

Kelechi Iheanacho needs to wake up, says John...

54,000 youths compete for laurels as 19th NNPC/Shell...

Mikel, Moses, Martins, Ikeme, Ezenwa, Oshoala, Quadri nominated...


Latest News Ighalo Wins 2019 AFCON Golden Boot CAF Makes $83 Million from 2019 AFCON Finals Algeria coach Belmadi Savours ‘Incredible’ AFCON Triumph Your AFCON Allowances Will Be Paid Soon, Buhari Assures Super Eagles Niger Tornadoes Management Unveils New Technical Adviser Zenith Women League Tips Off on Tuesday, July 23 Volleyball Premier League: Customs and NSCDC teams lock horns on Day 6 Nigeria National League Appoints Compliance Officers, Ahead of Play-Offs Solskjaer ‘Working On One or Two’ Man Utd Deals Eriksen Trains Alone On Spurs Pre-Season amid Exit Links Lampard Hoping to Rely on Youngsters Zouma, Mount McIlroy Misses Cut at Home Open as Lowry Shares Lead


Most Read Rangers International going, going . . . (45,647 views) Amaju Pinnick: A cat with nine lives (37,689 views) Missing $150,000 IAAF Grant: Solomon Dalung’s Hide and Seek game (36,294 views) Sports Development: Zenith Bank on the zenith (35,884 views) Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje’s solid footprints, commitment to sports development in Kano State (34,872 views) Current issues in Nigerian sports: Matters arising (34,791 views) Second Term: Amaju Pinnick, Other NFF Heavyweights Home to Roost •How Pinnick Broke the Jinx (34,156 views) Olopade, BET9A wave of revolution in NNL (33,895 views) Commonwealth Games 2018: Shame of Muhammadu Buhari, Solomon Dalung (33,550 views) NFF Presidency: Pinnick, Maigari, Ogunjobi, Okoye in Battle for Supremacy (32,826 views) John Mikel Obi: Segun Odegbami’s Outrageous Call! (30,719 views) Ibrahimovic’s Man U exit: Whose decision is it? And in whose interest? (30,647 views)




News Athletics (291) Basketball (175) Boxing (557) Columnists (459) Euro Soccer Update (5117) Fans Assembly (3) From the Grassroots (46) Golf (75) Interviews (14) Live Commentary (4) News (5279) NPL Glo Premier League (1030) People and Places (22) Readers Parliament (6) Tennis (573)




Phone numbers

Tel: +234(0)8066020976

Email addresses

Office address

No 3, Adetoun Close, Off College Road, Ogba, Ikeja Lagos.

Social Media