The Nigerian Football Federation has sacked head coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr with barely a month to prepare for the African Cup of Nations. After months of speculation about the German’s future, Rohr finally gets the boot. A statement released on Sunday November 13, signed by NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, declared that “The relationship between the Nigerian Football Federation and Mr. Rohr has come to an end. We thank him for his services to the Super Eagles and Nigeria. We also want to thank the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for their collaboration and guidance all through.”
Rohr had taken charge of the Super Eagles for a record 64 months, going down in history as Nigeria’s longest-serving team manager.
The President of NFF, Amaju Pinnick, said Gernot Rohr was sacked to forestall a “disaster” waiting to happen. “It wasn’t an individual decision; it was a collective decision from the committee,” Pinnick said on Monday when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily breakfast programme. “We didn’t want a disaster to happen before taking the decision,” he added.
Pinnick said the last two games under Rohr were abysmal, noting that Nigeria won’t have qualified for the last round of the World Cup if not for providence. The NFF President also said the 68-year-old coach failed to enforce discipline in the team, adding that there were so many things not known to the public on the matter.
“We did everything that we could, but one major factor was that discipline in the team is lost practically. In the dressing room, discipline in the team was at its lowest ebb; and once you remove discipline, that foundation in the team has cracked.
“Players now talk back at you. Players believe that they are indispensable. A lot of these factors now militate against the team. We only owe about two matches of all the matches they played in both AFCON qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers,” the NFF boss added.
There had been a breakdown in the relationship between the coach and the Federation for months, with unsavoury news about owed salaries, and alleged interference by the Federation in team selection and coaching decisions. There were rumors that the Federation was forcing the German tactician to pick a host of home-based players for the Super Eagles, but the coach was adamant choosing instead to pick players only on merit rather than fulfilling any sort of quota. There were also concerns about the team’s lack of a playing style and football identity, as the team seemed to lack any form of cohesion, and always appeared disorganized on the pitch.
As expected, fans have gone on social media to air their views on the latest developments in the Eagles camp. Not a few feel that there was merit in the decision taken by the Federation, stating that the team needed new ideas. They argue that with qualification for the world cup next year at stake, the Federation was right to act now.
There are also people who feel it was a bad decision sacking a coach barely a month before a major tournament. They feel there isn’t enough time to build up momentum needed to properly compete at the Nations Cup. There is concern that the Federation is not free of blame and had decided to use the German tactician as the scapegoat for the Federation’s incompetence. They feel it would have been sensible to wait until after the tournament before making a decision.
The Federation has appointed former Super Eagles captain, Augustine Eguavoen, as Chief Coach 1, Salisu Yusuf as Chief Coach 2, Paul Aigbogun as Assistant Coach, Joseph Yobo as Assistant Coach, and Aloysius Agu as Goalkeeper Trainer. They are tasked with leading the team until a decision is made if it would be an interim position or permanent.
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With the Nations Cup scheduled to begin January 9, 2022 in Cameroon, there is uncertainty about the state of the team. And whatever side of the divide you are, we look forward to seeing how the team fares in the aftermath of Rohr’s sack. Will the NFF be vindicated? I guess we will find out in Cameroon.
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