Gernot Rohr
Looking through the list of 24 players,
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr called to camp and the reactions from
Nigerians, it is easy to understand that most are disappointed at his choices
once again.
The question is, “What do Nigerians
really want?
In announcing his players on Monday,
Rohr stuck with basically the same players he has used for a while with a few
The goalkeeping department remained the
same even though a large percentage of Nigerians, especially those that follow
the league would have thought Theophilus Afelokhai should have been named
instead of Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
There are complaints in every
department of the team Rohr named and the most common thing said about the
German is that he is rigid, refusing to bend over team selection and tactics.
Why Ezenwa and not Afelokhai?
Ezenwa has been the most discussed home-based
goalkeeper in the Super Eagles, probably since Uche Akubuike was denied a
chance to go to the World Cup with the Super Eagles in 1998.
And the jury is out on him. Is he
really the best in the Nigerian League? How can he be the best when he is not
even seen as the best in his local Football club, Enyimba?

Enyimba’s biggest competition is the CAf Confederation Cup but their coaches
choose Afelokhai over Ezenwa and that should count for something, but why
wouldn’t Rohr pick Enyimba’s first choice over their second choice?
Well, just maybe he knows that either
of Ezenwa or Afelokhai would be third choice keeper in the team anyway, and
will not get to play in one-off games like these qualifiers against Libya and
the likes.  
The defence gives cause for concern too
The Super Eagles defence has been a cause
for concern for so long that a lot of Nigerians do not even remember the last
time the super Eagles had a back four we were all comfortable
Was it the Yisa Sofoluwe, Stephen
Keshi, Sunday Eboigbe and Bright Omokaro combination in the 80s or the one that
had Taribo West, Okechukwu Uche and Celestine Babayaro?
Truth is that, Nigerians have not had a
defence partnership that they could trust in more than a decade.
There is however a school of thought
that believes Rohr has sorted out the technical indiscipline in that part of the
pitch for the national team.
Individually, players like Ola Aina,
Bryan Idowu and Kenneth Omeruo have hardly played like Super Eagles material.
William Troost Ekong seems shaky when
his partner, Leon Balogun is not by his side but it seems there is little Rohr
can do about personnel here and these may most likely be the best Nigeria has
at this point in time.
Too few midfielders or?

Ogenyi Onazi

Ogenyi Onazi has not had many good
games for the Super Eagles in recent times and unless he is in the team for
non-footballing reasons, then Nigerians have a reason to complain about his
inclusion in the team.
In 2014, Stephen Keshi defended his
inclusion of Shola Ameobi in his World Cup bound team saying he has an effect
in the dressing room and Nigerians, myself inclusive, bought it.
Why is Ogenyi Onazi in the team? In
recent times he has been slow, tackles late and passes are often times
inaccurate, giving the likes of Ndidi Wilfred and Oghenekaro Etebo more work to
Another pointer is John Ogu who keeps
getting invites but hardly ever gets to play. What does Ogu need to do to play
a game for the Super Eagles?
What Ogu lacks in pace, he gains in
size, strength, grit, composure passing accuracy and shots from both feet, all
attributes of an international central midfielder.
Rohr’s squad list for the Libya game
has just four midfielders listed giving Nigerians cause to raise alarms but Kaduna
based sports broadcaster and blogger, Mohammed “Mowiz” Suleiman insists Rohr is
on the right path.
“Two of the defenders, Shehu Abdulahi
and Semi Ajayi can also play as Defensive midfielders,” Suleiman says.
But Rohr’s midfield is bereft of
creativity, or does he have a plan we are not aware of? Liverpool’s midfield
of James Milner, Gigi Wynaldum and Jordan Henderson also lacks creativity.

Same ol’ attack
Suddenly Isaac Success is recalled to
the team but the over hyped flop, Simeon Nwankwo is out cold.
Why does he keep faith in Odion Ighalo
whose goal scoring rate for the Super Eagles is same as what central
midfielders and forward playing defenders should have?
It is good to see Alex Iwobi and Moses
Simon back though. Iwobi has been a beast for Arsenal so far this season and
Simon has returned to action playing for Levante.
How he churns out Musa, Iheanacho,
Simon, Onyekuru, Ighalo, Iwobi, Kalu and Success to be a goal scoring machine
and unit will go a long way to determine how far the Super Eagles can go
internationally as an attacking threat. As it stands now, the future looks very
bleak because the Eagles cannot score… Either because they do not know how to, or
they do not want to.
What is Rohr really doing?
Rohr is stubborn, he is rigid, he is
not world class blah blah blah has been said about him, but is it possible that
he just wants to stick with the players he knows and not make too many changes?
Nigerians are used to coaches always
tell us they are building a team and Rohr indeed told us this same thing at the
start of his sojourn in Nigeria, but is it possible he has stopped building? Is
it possible that this is his team and he may just make one or two changes per
Maybe, while Nigerians want to see new
faces in the team, Rohr is not interested and likes his team the way it is?
Rohr, as tough as he may act on the
outside is under pressure and he knows it. He is feeling the pressure. Nigeria have
not been to the last two Africa Cup of Nations and if the same thing happens
this time, well, we will be praying for Rohr.
He knows he has to win against Libya so
he will live and die by his choices.
Has Rohr disappointed Nigerians with
his squad list? Yes he has. Does he know what he is doing? Yes he does.


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