Nigeria 1 – 0 Tanzania the score line read at the end of 90 minutes, and the reign of Gernot Rohr started on a (somewhat) positive note. Opinions were divided on how the Super Eagles played on the day, however, the bigger question is: should Rohr be given a pass because this is his first game, or should he be judged the same way Nigerian coaches have been judged? This is the Rohr Report…
The team selection: Rohr did what any sane person would do in that situation, pick the best players (in your opinion), and hope to win the game to keep the wolves at bay. The roll call had super stars (Iheanacho, Mikel), former stars (Ideye, Igiebor) and upcoming stars (Ndidi, Osimhen). Simply put: a collection that will will serve the dual purpose of pleasing everyone, while securing a win.
The game plan: An aggregate of the comments on social media seem to suggest that Nigerians are happy with what they saw, but in reality there wasn’t much departure from what we have seen from the Super Eagles in the past five years, minus the last days of Stephen Keshi when everything went wrong with the national team.
The Super Eagles huffed and puffed with little effect for more than two-thirds of the game, before something gave in the stubborn Taifa Stars defence. All par for the course
The attack: We will ignore the defence because there was nothing much to defend, Tanzania were too busy ‘minding house’ to pose any threat. But the attack was a study if you were looking to be amused: individual play, misplaced passes, mishit shots, players colliding with each other, confusion about roles…name it, it was in that game. And that has been the issue with the Super Eagles for a while; uncoordinated attacks and chances not taken has been the bane of this team, from the time of Samson Siasia, to the latter days of Keshi. Sunday Oliseh didn’t solve the problem. Gernot Rohr seem to have inherited it. Throwing ‘fire power’ at the problem will not solve it. It requires thinking and decisive, fearless action.
THE VERDICT – The first game of the World Cup qualifiers is roughly four weeks away. Rohr will have the team together for less than four days before they travel to Zambia. He will have to watch the video of this game, and as many as he can lay his hands on, of other ones involving the Super Eagles, to see the problem and fashion out what he wants to do. THEN he must work on it in those four days, to have any chance in Zambia. The team as it is now, will not deliver four points in the first two World Cup qualifying games.