The speculations over the future of Gernot Rohr as the coach of Super Eagles was laid to rest on May 27, when the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick announced formally that the federation has extended the contract of the German for another 60 months.
Among the targets set for the former Bayern Munich defender include winning the 2021 AFCON as well as picking one of the available continental tickets for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
In his first term as Super Eagles coach, Rohr qualified the Super Eagles for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup where they exited in first round. He equally qualified the national team for the 2019 AFCON in Egypt with a third place finish. Aside, the German has been credited for assemblage of a youthful side dominated by Europe-based stars.
Yet former Nigerian internationals and notable coaches believe Rohr who had previously coached the national teams of Burkina Faso, Gabon and Niger has a lot to do to lead the Super Eagles to their Nirvana.
Former Super Eagles assistant coach, Fatai Amao lauded Rohr for finding and assembling youthful players that had brought back the quality synonymous with the Super Eagles.
“Sincerely speaking, the first three years of coach Rohr was not bad; he qualified the team for the last World Cup, and went to the AFCON to win bronze and I think he can improve on his last performance by going further in the AFCON ,” begin Amao, the former coach of defunct First Bank of Lagos. “He should look inward to see what he can add to the team in terms of giving opportunities for players in our local leagues especially now that the clause had been included in his contract.
“So players from the domestic league should be given the opportunity because I believe we have good players but it is all about having the time, the dedication and the seriousness to really look at the local leagues sincerely and select talented players in our league,” Amao added.
Similarly, Former Super Eagles striker Etim Esin welcomed the new deal offered Rohr: “I think it is a progress for us to keep the coach for continuity because it took coach Clemens Westerhof five years to build a team that won the AFCON in 1994.
“ I love the idea of giving Rohr a new contract to ensure and I must give the NFF the credit for this; and I hope the coach can take a cue from what some of the indigenous coaches have done in the past by winning the AFCON as well as making at least the last 16 at the FIFA World Cup.
“He must also start looking inward to select players from the local league for the national team because it is not only when a player is established that he can be invited to the Super Eagles.
“If Westerhof could do it, there is nothing stopping Rohr from adopting similar system. This will surely help to discover talents from the local league that will become established stars,” Esin said.
Speaking on his new mandate with the Super Eagles, Rohr who was blooded as player by 1998 FIFA World Cup-winning coach Frenchman Aime Jacquet, said he was not oblivious of the task ahead of him.
“This is a special job because this is my team, I built it with my staff,” the former Niger and Gabon coach said Monday on local television. “It’s a very young team, but the mission is not finished yet, so we want to continue.
“We all have to make sacrifices and I will be the first.”
He said the target is to be champions of Africa again. The Super Eagles have won the Africa Cup of Nations three times – in 1980, 1994 and 2013:”Let’s qualify for (the Nations Cup) and then we want to win it. We have a good team; we’re now number three in Africa. When I arrived (in 2016), we were number 13; we have worked together for the past four years and I hope we can progress.”
Towards this end, Ex-Super Eagles midfielder Mutiu Adepoju said Rohr should be allowed to pick his soldiers as he leads from the front, even as he vehemently kicked against the idea of foisting players on the coach.
“I think Rohr need to focus on all areas of the game including the players’ welfare which is very vital to their performance,” noted Adepoju, a member of the 1994 AFCON-winning team. “In all the department of the game, he must find the right players from the defence line to the midfield and down to the attack; he needs to strengthen all these areas.”
“We should allow the coach to pick players from where he knows he can get the best. I am not against him picking players from the local league but we must not insist that he must pick from there. But if he identifies good players from the local league, this is good but I believe he knows where he can get the best legs to form his team,” Adepoju cautioned.
The former goalkeeper trainer of the Super Eagles, Ike Shorunmu affirmed that it was just normal for the NFF to extend his contract and thumbed up the NFF for impressing it upon Rohr to stay more in Nigeria just like Westerhof did in the 1990s which helped to develop the home-based players.
“We cannot judge the coach from outside,” he said. “We have to be patient and try to get the whole content of the new target giving to him in the fresh contract.
“If he agrees to the fresh terms given to him, it shows that he meant well for our football. It is a good thing because during the time of Clemens Westerhof he stayed in the country and was able to make use of the Nigerian league players too.
“I’m one of the products of the league during Westerhof’s time and let’s wait and see how Rohr performs,” Shorunmu added.
For Lobi Stars head coach, Gbenga Ogunbote and the President of the Nigerian Coaches Football Association, Isa Ladan Bosso they are both happy that the NFF has mandated Rohr to reside in the country and also help develop local league players.
Ogunbote told NationSport that Nigerian league players would no longer be in any haste to leave for overseas clubs with the acceptance of Rohr to look inward and help develop them.
“It is a good development that he was retained. I believe his employers were satisfied with what he did in his current contract that will soon elapse,” Ogunbote said. “I think anywhere you work, it is expected that you stay there and you will be used to the mode of operations of the place.
“Since that has been missing for some time with previous handlers of the team and this has affected the steady rise of the domestic league players into the national team.
“He needs sincere people that can help him realize his objectives. He should work with coaches with experience coaching in the league. He should see the clubs play not just once or twice to be able to assess the players. That is when I will be glad that such a clause was included in his contract,” the Ex-Gateway FC gaffer said.
Bosso on his part posited that it is pertinent for Eagles coach to make domestic league players part of his team as this would add glamour to the league.
“There is always a room for improvement and I believe the NFF looked at some of these areas before offering Gernot Rohr a fresh contract,” Bosso told NationSport.
“Rohr is not a bad coach but the only problem he has is his inability to look inward and pick some of the players in the domestic league that can make up the Super Eagles.
“By considering some of the league players for the national team, he would be adding glamour to the league. Players in the league will now know that when they do well they have the chance to play for the Eagles.
“I appreciate the additional clauses put in his contract to help develop our league. If a coach is only interested in readymade players, it shows he is not a good coach.”
Bosso also tasked Rohr to consider taking the Eagles beyond the second round of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to really show that he has stamped his authority in charge of the Nigerian team.
“Other things he must think about is not only taking us to the next World Cup which he did at Russia 2018; he must work on taking the Super Eagles beyond the first round because he now has better understanding of the players,” Bosso added.