Football

Gernot Rohr: Nigeria were disappointing at AFCON

Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, has restated his backing for embattled head coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr despite increasing calls for the immediate dismissal of the German.

Former Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has described as disappointing the early exit of the Nigeria national team from the Africa Cup of Nations now in its quarter-final stage in Cameroon.

The Super Eagles raised the hopes of many when they recorded a perfect sweep in the group stage; beating the trio of Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau.

Rohr who handled the Super Eagles for over five years and led the team to a third-place finish at the 2019 Afcon had even tipped Nigeria to go all the way but that wasn’t the case following last Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Tunisia.

The Franco-German admitted to being surprised with the loss to Tunisia especially as the North Africans were depleted in the Round of 16 clash against the Super Eagles.

A long-range shot from Youssef Msakni minutes into the second half put paid to the ambition of a fourth AFCON title for Nigeria.

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“Nigeria was disappointing – losing to a weakened Tunisia in the Round of 16, it came as a surprise,” Rohr was quoted as saying by Sportschau, a German sports magazine on broadcaster ARD.

Rohr who is presently being linked to the vacant coaching job in Ghana ahead of the World Cup playoff also gave his assessment on the performance of one of the players he handed a debut in the national team, Taiwo Awoniyi during his reign.

Awoniyi, who plays for German club Union Berlin, scored one goal in the three games he featured in but Rohr believes the former Golden Eaglets forward would have done more if the Eagles had been better coordinated.

He said: “Although Taiwo Awoniyi from Union Berlin played a very good tournament, you could see his potential, but there was still a lack of coordination with the team – he hasn’t been there very long.”

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The Super Eagles have since turned away from their short-lived AFCON campaign and are already counting down to the massive two-legged clash against the Ghana Black Stars in March.

Many believe the difficult task of navigating past Ghana over two legs may become even more complex if the country’s neighbours choose to settle for Rohr as their new coach.

While with Nigeria, Rohr qualified the Super Eagles for the Russia 2018 World Cup with two games to spare; beating powerhouses Algeria and Cameroon in the run to the ticket.

The Super Eagles, however, failed to make it beyond the group stage at the World Cup in Russia.

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