Former Nigerian international Julius Aghahowa has stated his belief that Gernot Rohr has not had the impact on the Super Eagles that is required to turn them into a team which competes against the best in the world.
Nigeria had mixed results in the past week of 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, suffering a shock 1-0 home loss at the hands of the Central African Republic on October 7, before righting the ship with a 2-0 away win over the same opponents three days later.
As a result, the Super Eagles are top of Group C and look strong favourites to seal progression into the final playoff round when the group phase wraps up next month.
However, Aghahowa insists that he has not been impressed at any stage of Rohr’s five-year tenure at the helm of Nigeria, insisting that the team should be better given the outstanding talent available.
“There has not been a major impact from coach Gernot Rohr on [the] Super Eagles,” said Aghahowa, as quoted by This Day.
“Having spent five years on the Eagles job, I can’t say this is the great thing Rohr has done with Eagles. I don’t think Rohr can take Super Eagles to the promised land.
“In terms of the team developing from one level to the other, I have not seen that.”
He added, “When you play under a manager, there are certain things you feel you can do but if the manager did not give you room to do them there is little or nothing you can do about that.
“I still can recall during the AFCON 2000 in the game against Senegal, I can remember I was on the bench until the 85th minute. Our coach [Jo Bonfrere] knew what he wanted me to do and I delivered.”
Aghahowa insisted that the strength of a team is the bench, most especially what the head coach has to offer.
“How strong a team is is based on the substitute’s bench,” he explained. “Rohr has been with the team for five years and we have been complaining about him and the quality of Eagles games.
“Yet, we went ahead to extend his contract. We have not seen his impact in terms of coaching on the team. That is my candid opinion.”
Agahowa, who was part of several AFCON squads, the 2000 Olympic Games and the 2002 World Cup, wants to see a better blend of foreign- and local-based players in the Super Eagles.
“Clemens Westerhof picked players from the Nigeria Professional Football League and made them professionals but Rohr does not want to have anything to do with them,” said the 39-year-old.
“We need a mix of foreign-based and players from the home league. The late Stephen Keshi proved the mix was good enough to win AFCON in 2013 in South Africa.”