Some said it was a joke, others called it a passing comment. Whatever it was, the manager of the national team should not be talking about player bonuses, and should never advocate for an increase. And here are the reasons.
The request shoved his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation, under the bus. Yep, that’s exactly what Rohr did. His statement is an indictment of the Federation, a way of saying, “we know how tricky the matter of money is to you. So we are telling you ahead of time, be prepared”. He did not need to make that statement in public, a memo to the appropriate department in the Federation would have sufficed.
He’s glibly found a way to deflect failure from himself. Rohr had hinted at an earlier interview that the Eagles would not stumble on the pitch on the way to Russia, unless there are administration problems. Now he has specifically mentioned one thing that can derail Nigeria’s World Cup ambitions, and he did not point the finger at himself. He’s effectively said “My team is ready, it won’t be my fault if we do not qualify”
Many will think he’s padding his own nest. The man that was employed out of the blues has won a couple of games for Nigeria, and he is growing wings on the heels of media and public adulation, now he wants to get paid. That statement will put him in a win-win situation, if the suggestion is adopted: officials get double what the team gets, so he gets paid more with every win. Then, the success of the Super Eagles – the biggest job of his career – will mean more visibility for him. Simply put, Rohr wants Nigeria to finance his personal PR!
He publicly sided with players on an administrative issue. Managers should side with players only on footballing matters. Managers should defend players when they’ve followed instructions and things don’t go well, but should never publicly be on the side of the players on matters like this, at least not publicly. It’s like riding a Tiger, you’ll end up in his belly. The players will be his friends now, but will turn on him at some point in future. History always repeats itself in that instance.
But there is another angle to the story, what if the German coach uttered those words on instruction? What if a desperate Federation, keen to secure funding from a reluctant presidency, instructed “the white man” to fly that kite?
Can you imagine the furore that would have blown up in the media if a Nigerian coach, employed by the NFF had made the same statement?
NB: I have since been reliably informed that the coach did not advocate for MORE money for players. He asked the NFF to be ready to pay A LOT MORE BONUSES because the Super Eagles will win a lot more matches.