Nah, Rohr Wouldn’t Say That!


Earlier this month, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr was widely reported as actively canvassing the Nigeria Football Federation to increase the bonus of the Eagles, to assure qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

It turned out that the interpretation given to the actual statement made by the coach was at the least, a misunderstanding of his stuttering English, and at worst, mischievous . The latest reports on the coach suggests that he is criticising the Nigeria Immigration Services over their failure to issue passports to foreign-born players he wants to recruit in to the Eagles. But we don’t think Rohr would ever do that!

First off, Gernot Rohr is a foreigner. We can argue that he is an ‘important one’, but that does not give him the audacity to criticise the workings of an arm of the Nigerian government, especially on hear-say: If the Nigerian passport is issued to Nigerians resident in Nigeria in “two days”, does that include those who are seeking dual nationality?

Secondly, the mandate that was given to the coach when he was hired, includes helping in the development of football locally. Surely the Rohr will realise that the continued hunt for foreign-born players to add the Super Eagles will be counter-productive to that directive? The reasons for that are well discussed in an earlier article.

Thirdly, let us for the sake of argument, agree that the boys that play in the Nigeria Professional League are not good enough for the Super Eagles (I will never subscribe to that argument, there are 20 teams in the NPFL and each has at least 25 registered players. It is impossible that at least 2% of them – that is 10 – are not good enough) But let’s hold that thought anyway:

So, the players in the League are not good enough, what about the army of players that leave these shores every year? What about the Nigerians we know playing all over the world, who hold Nigerian passports. There are none of those that can play? And we have to keep chasing these ones we have to not only beg, but desperately issue passports?

Finally, Rohr must know that the two most successful national team coaches in Nigeria, Clemens Westerhof and Stephen Keshi, built their teams that won the Nations Cup and qualified for the Second Round of the World Cup around home based players. Are those two instances connected? Was it pure luck?

Rohr is aware that it is hard to argue against facts, and he seems genuinely eager to make an impression here, after admitting that the Eagles job is the biggest of his career. Maybe that is why ‘his enemies’ are ‘fabricating’ stories to implicate him. But surely, Rohr would never have said that! 

Pic Courtesy

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