Iheanacho, Iwobi, Success key to Nigeria’s dominance of African football, says Rohr
Super Eagles’ Coach, Gernot Rohr, is one of the newbreed German coaches trying their hands in African football. Following in the footsteps of such renowned German coaches including Otto Pfister, Rudi Gutendorf and Burkhard Ziese, Rohr has already started building a reputation as a very bright tactician.
In an interview published by FIFA.Com yesterday, the 63-year-old, who took over the Super Eagles in August last year, revealed his plans to reduce the average age of the players to create a formidable squad that would be unrivalled in the continent.
The German has already started on a bright note with victories over Zambia and Algeria in the Russia 2018 qualifying series. But he says he would not rest on his oars until he gets a team that would surpass the achievements of the Super Eagles of the 1990s.
His immediate challenge is in beating South Africa in the qualifiers for the Cameroun 2019 African Nations Cup and also surmounting the Indomitable Lions to cement Nigeria’s leadership of the Russia 2018 World Cup group.
“Winning our first two matches was a great start, but we will not play again until the end of August and early September, when we face Cameroun,” said Rohr. “They of course are African champions and will be highly motivated to take the form from Gabon into the World Cup qualifiers.
“I do not get carried away. It is a very tough group and nothing has been decided. But I admit that, at the moment, we have a small advantage and if we win our two matches at home against Cameroun and Zambia, we will qualify.”
Although Rohr is banking on the large pool of talented youngsters thrown up by recent age grade competitions to build a formidable Super Eagles, he has also kept faith with the older players to give the team the needed balance.
“As the team and the country had been deeply affected by failing to qualify for the finals in Gabon, I wanted to bring in some younger players into the squad. This, of course, is without closing the door on anyone.”
Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Troost-Ekong have already cemented their positions in the new Super Eagles, but the coach is still on the look out for emerging talents to create competition in the squad.