The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, has revealed why the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has continued to work from outside the country despite signing a contract that mandates him to stay in Nigeria.
Mr Pinnick, in an interview aired on Arise TV, explained that the Franco-German has never kicked against working from Nigeria but he is forced to operate mostly from abroad since most of the players he works with are based abroad.
He said, “We have a contract with Gernot [Rohr] to live in Nigeria and he has not been antagonistic to that. That is the truth. I’m not trying to defend him when I don’t need to defend him.
“But most of our players live outside the shores of this country and that what we do right now is that he is at the head of a monitoring team that monitors and talks to our players, talks to their teams, their backroom staff, their coaches and because he is an ex-international himself, he has a relationship with most of their coaches. These are some of the things people don’t know,” Mr Pinnick explained.
While Mr Pinnick’s explanation appears plausible, many have fingered Mr Rohr’s overseas operation as one of the chief reasons why the Super Eagles coach has given few opportunities to players on the domestic scene to vie for places in the national team.
No Nigeria-based player was named in the 23-man squad that prosecuted back-to-back qualifiers against a Central African Republic team ranked 134th on the FIFA table.
In a related development, Mr Pinnick also expressed optimism that the Eagles will book a ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite the momentary setback which saw Mr Rohr’s men losing at home to the lowly-rated Central African Republic.
“I always want to believe that by God’s grace it is not negotiable that we will not qualify. We will do our best in the enterprise, putting everything together to ensure that Nigeria qualifies because it is just one factor that unifies the country. It is just one factor that makes the country happy that is why we are not leaving any stone unturned.”
According to him, Mr Rohr’s side lost to CAR in Lagos primarily because the Eagles underestimated the Wild Beasts and now they have learnt their lessons.
“The incident in Lagos was quite unfortunate because we never expected that it would come even though we know it is football.
“My take on that is that our team underestimated the strength, the capacity of the team from the Central African Republic. In football, you pay for losing your chances and it was a very deep loss for us. I couldn’t sleep for days.”
If Nigeria progresses from Group C, they will have to face African heavyweights like Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire in the last round of qualifiers in March 2022.
Nigeria is seeking a seventh appearance at the Mundial after a maiden appearance at the USA 1994 edition.
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