The Rohr Revolution begins… NOW


The Nigeria Football Federation have taken the expected step of extending the contract of Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr. He has been given a two-year addition with just over a year into his current two year contract; definitely a major vote of confidence on the German. The move will be seen as a positive move by many because…

Rohr started a mini-revival of sorts for the Super Eagles. That cannot be denied. Nigerians were still basking in the euphoria of the 2013 Nations Cup win, when the Eagles failed to qualify for the next two editions of the competition. This disappointment was followed by the public spat between the Federation and Sunday Oliseh. Then, Rohr came along and made a difficult World Cup Qualifying group look easy. He then rounded it up by handing Argentina a thorough beating in a friendly game. There’s no denying it, Rohr has earned the extension. However, the real work starts now, because…

He has now joined an elite group of Super Eagles coaches… In the history of Nigeria football, only two coaches have led the Eagles for four years or longer: Tihomir Jelisavcic (Father Tiko) who was Eagles coach between 1974 and 1978, and Clemens Westerhof who led Eagles from 1989-94. By the end of his tenure, Rohr would have led Eagles for four years at a stretch. Father Tiko and Westerhof are household names in Nigeria. Father Tiko laid the foundation of the modern Super Eagles, Westerhof won the Nations Cup and took the Eagles to their first ever World Cup, Rohr must use the time given him, to create his own legacy. And the German looks capable because…

He seems to have figured out how to coax the best out of the Eagles…just like Westerhof. In the early days, the Eagles under Westerhof would play blinding football, score four goals in the first half, and struggle through the next 45 minutes; but they would get the win. The Eagles have sometimes looked patchy under Rohr, but they almost always get the win…and that’s what Nigerian want. He looked to be heading for disaster again Argentina, then somehow, stumbled on a formula for victory – just get the win!

Now, Rohr has to complete the revolution. This is simply because a World Cup place without any significance progress beyond what others had done before, will not put him in same class as the mentioned coaches. The period of his contract covers a World Cup, and a Nations Cup; anything less than a victory at the African showpiece would be considered inadequate. Such is the expectation. And the NFF have done well by settling two key matters; player bonuses and his contract, before the Mundial. The ball is now in his court.

Gernot Rohr’s Eagles are coming together nicely just before the World Cup, just like ’94; they played some blinding football against Argentina in the second half, just like Westerhof’s team. However, some other coaches have also done good work with Super Eagles, but left unceremoniously. Rohr has started well: the World Cup may be his testing ground, but the Nations Cup will be his judgement ground. 

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