Sadly, the cold war or leadership tussle in the NFF may have taken its toll on the Super Eagles who are supposed to play an away game in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers against Seychelles on September 7 which is 14 days from now.
As you read this, I learnt that the last time the NFF spoke with Gernot Rohr was shortly after his team crashed out of Russia 2018 World Cup. He was asked to submit his report on the mundial. It was Pinnick Amaju’s board that discussed with the German who was also given a clean bill to continue his job as manager of the team.
But following the Amaju-today, Giwa-tomorrow crisis, not many within the NFF have spoken with the coach. Says a member of Amaju’s board, “Honestly, I have not set my eyes on him (Rohr) since we left Russia after the World Cup. In fact, his whereabouts are even unknown to most of us. May be the President (Amaju) knows because we believe he must be talking with him. But he (Rohr) is yet to present his technical report on the World Cup which will help us build for the future especially AFCON which is next year. This however, is not his (Rohr’s) fault but that of the desperadoes seeking power and authority to run our football by every crooked means. Their activities has slowed down a lot of things including plans for Super Eagles next game.”
Eagles are placed third on the log of their AFCON qualification group with Libya and South Africa topping with three points apiece while bottom placed Seychelles and Nigeria have no points. This makes the September 7 clash a tight fixture for both teams. It is a must win!
Indeed, the game in Seychelles is a must-win for Eagles if they hope to keep dream of featuring in the next AFCON alive. 14 days to the crucial encounter, there is no release on how Eagles will camp, players invited, where they will assemble and how they hope to prosecute this game.
Most top leagues are on in Europe and it would be difficult for any team to release it’s player for AFCON qualifiers. The process of seeking the release of the players has not even been initiated by the NFF given the crisis bedevilling our football.
With Victor Moses declaring his retirement from international football and some Eagles now playing in lesser leagues while others are on loan deals across Europe, it could be very difficult to get a full house of Eagles top players to prosecute this very important fixture.. May be a rag-tag team will eventually be presented in Seychelles come September 7. It won’t be out of place if, the NFF of Amaju which has been given seal of authority by the FG will begin to draw up a list of some home-based players to open emergency camping while fast contacts will be made to new and fringe players of the team abroad to join the home-based to prepare for the Seychelles tie. Sadly, the coach who is supposed to be incharge of selection of home-based players, Salisu Yusuf is entangled in a bribe scandal that rubbished his image. It may be difficult for him to continue on the job as assistant coach to Rohr even as he has “pleaded not guilty” and claimed no-wrong doing.
A stitch in time saves nine….because a defeat in the hands of Seychelles won’t be a result that can land Eagles in the next AFCON. We must note that failing to feature in 2019 AFCON will be three straight or successive absence of Nigeria from Africa’s flagship tournament.