Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has had his say on the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying group.
The Super Eagles have been handed a decent group that consists of Liberia, Central African Republic and Cape Verde.
Rohr also dissected the Super Eagles’ Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualification success, domestic league players and other issues in this interview…
Winning against Benin Republic and Lesotho
Rhor: Winning 3-0 against Lesotho was a good result. Without conceding a goal, we wanted to be calm and more solid after our two games in November.
Now, we had two cleansheets which is very interesting for the stability and balance of the team.”
Scoring three goals without any setpieces is very interesting.”
On Maduka Okoye
Rohr: Maduka was sick in the last moment against Lesotho.
He had stomach problem. He could not play and had to stay in the hotel. He is much better now.
Rhor: We had to change four players, the goalkeeper (Francis Uzoho), Ola Aina who was still a little bit injured and tired from the Benin Republic game.
Alex Iwobi came in for Henry Onyekuru and Joe Aribo who was sick like Maduka for stomach problem.
Rohr: It’s never easy to come in the last match without training session on Sunday.
We travelled from Cotonou and stopped at the President’s (Amaju Pinnick’s) house. We arrived late in Lagos and also celebrated the President’s election to the FIFA Council.
We couldn’t train on Sunday. Monday was a short training session.
Rhor: Alex Iwobi had the authorization to play few hours to the Lesotho game.”
He was isolated and quarantined since the morning of the match in Cotonou.
Rhor: We brought Enyimba players to the squad. I saw them, they are good players.
Rhor: Iwuala played twice. In the first match he came in. I think a lot of people were surprised because he played.
Local Players’ Chances In The Super Eagles
Rohr: Normally we must have a CHAN team. We need to have the best local players. It’s very difficult for them to play in our A team.
Now, due to special circumstances on travelling restrictions we had the opportunity to bring in some local players.
The two other ones in training gave us a good impression. Let’s see what can happen. These three players are very interesting for the CHAN team.
We will soon have a coach who will help us prepare for the next CHAN competition. Everybody want to see the local players but they have to show something in the CHAN team. It’s very important to see the best ones and give them the chance.
Rohr: We missed so many wingers wingers. Kalu, Moses Simon, Iwobi in the first game and Musa not playing Club Football.
Rhor: Finally, Musa played because we had 21 players and he made it 22. He was there, fit and passes the physical test. Musa was fit, there was no reason not to allow him to come in. He is the captain of the team. We also wanted to help him find a good club.
Rhor: We picked four wins and two draws, same with the World Cup Qualifiers with two games to spare. It’s interesting, we do our job. We are efficient.
Support from Nigerians
We thank Nigerians for the support. We had a lot of Nigerians who supported us despite the two draws. We had a lot of Nigerians who supported us. They saw the injuries from three players against Sierra Leone in Benin City made it difficult for us. Osimhen and Balogun, with Musa made it difficult for the team.
World Cup Qualifiers
Rhor: The World Cup Qualifiers will start soon. I think we will be able to perform well. We should expect good football and good pitch I hope.
Atmosphere in Lagos
Rhor: Lagos did well very but still have to improve the traffic.
Rhor: We can’t try new players now..it is too late. It’s now becoming very serious World Cup Qualification.
Rhor: We are unbeaten away in the Qualifiers, which is wonderful. We have to continue and want to always be the best.