April 2020 was the month of the scramble for the Super Eagles job held by Gernot Rohr.
The speculation had been high on whether he would continue with the job or not, and it was looking like he would not get a new contract, so the scramble started.
Emmanuel Amunike showed interest and Finidi George, reports said, applied for the U17 job but said in an interview that he was open to any of the National Teams. Would Rohr get the contract?
Imama Amapakabo out, Joseph Yobo in
The first shocker in April was the announcement that Imama Amapakabo would no longer be the assistant coach of the Super Eagles.
He had done well as an assistant to Gernot Rohr, but results were not good to him the few times he had a team to himself.
At the Championship for African Nations, CHAN level, the team failed to qualify after losing to Togo, while at the U23 level, they also failed to qualify for the Olympic Games. So, while the red flags were up, the name of the replacement came as a surprise. Joseph Yobo, at the time of the announcement, was yet to get his badges.
“I am super happy that I was chosen to fill this gap to serve my nation in this capacity. It wasn’t an easy decision for me as well,” Yobo said in one of his early interviews after the announcement was made.
“I had to basically turn things around. I had a different life, a different dimension of work. Coaching was always something I wanted, but now I am coming on board and they looked at everybody and I was chosen.
“A lot of people want to coach but never have the opportunity. It is another great opportunity for me to serve. It comes with great challenges and expectations for me which I am used to as a former captain.”
Ufuoma Egbamuno is Head of news and digital content at Cool FM/ Wazobia/ Nigeria Info Lagos and he says he is never surprised at whatever the NFF do.
“To be honest, the decision was one of indifference for me because I’ve come to expect anything from the NFF,” Egbamuno told NigerianFootballer.com.
“Imama had a run of results prior to the decision that wasn’t good enough. However, when the dust settled on the announcement, it was evident the football house had appointed someone without the necessary credentials for the job. On the basis of this, the football house set itself on the road to some well-deserved criticisms.”
Gernot Rohr’s job up for sale?
April was the month of three arguments and debates on Social media- A new contract for Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, Voiding of the EPL, and whether the Nigerian League should restart or be voided too.
In the heat of the crises of a new Super Eagles coach, a couple of former internationals threw their hats in the ring for it.
One of such was Finidi George who applied for a coaching job with the National Team.
Finidi George in an interview in April said he would not mind the Super Eagles job.
“If you don’t try somebody, you will never know. The Pep Guardiola everyone is talking about today started somewhere. Players make top managers.
“I have never been afraid of a challenge, but I have always said that I can just take a step at a time and I would have preferred that but I will not say no if I am given the opportunity to work with the Super Eagles. I will not say no,” Finidi George said.
A contract for Gernot Rohr
Early in April, NFF president, Amaju Pinnick explained some details of the new contract offered to Gernot Rohr.
“Give and take within the next seven days to ten days, he should have his contract to study it. But what I know I have insisted is that he must live in Nigeria. It doesn’t matter where,” Amaju Pinnick said.
“The reason why he must live in Nigeria is to go around the leagues and watch players and nurture them. The major thing I have insisted is that he must live in Nigeria,” Pinnick said.
Victor Modo is a Lagos State based photo journalist and he explained that Amaju Pinnick can be quick to react at times.
“For all his good sides, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation is at times a very reactive person and can be swayed to action or threat of action by circumstances.
“Rohr on average has had an amazing time and the stability in management has helped the team concentrate,” Victor Modo told NigerianFootballer.com.
“Rohr has his faults, a lot of faults, with his critics accusing him of being too cagey and laid back. But that team is presently stable with him and it should stay so till the end of his contract,” Modo said.
Gernot Rohr himself at the time tried to explain that he had already obeyed these new terms of the contract.
“All what I can say is that since three years that I am in Nigeria, most of my time I stay in Nigeria. When I have to go to Europe to see my players, I do that, but all the time I return to Nigeria. I spend more time in Nigeria than in Europe,” Gernot Rohr said.
Was this desperation? Henry Nna, a sports journalist based in Aba suggests it could be.
“You can say it’s desperation and you can also say it’s an issue of something is better than nothing for him.
“Rohr is not technically and tactically sound and he has done nothing to upgrade his knowledge to succeed in the ever competitive modern day football,” Henry Nna said.
He is using the Super Eagles to upgrade his profile. He knows there is nowhere he can get to coach a team like the Eagles hence he had to take the job despite the conditions. It is a case of when the desired is not available, the available becomes the desired. Rohr will accept anything to coach Eagles, it is a big honour for him,” Nna said.
NigerianFootballer.com’s review of 2020 in football continues with May 2020 in a few days.