GOVERNMENT ministers have told the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to table their plans with regards to recruiting another Super Eagles head coach to replace the outgoing Gernot Rohr before proceeding with the process.
On Tuesday November 15, Nigeria limped into the final qualification round of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after an unimpressive 1-1 draw with Cape Verde in Lagos. This shoddy performance was the last straw for many Super Eagles fans who among other seen witnessed their team suffer a 0-1 humiliating loss at home to lowly Central African Republic earlier on during qualification.
With the final round of qualification involving a two-legged knock out tie against much sterner opposition in February, NFF officials have begun looking for a replacement for Mr Rohr. Nigeria will either face Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Dr Congo or Mali in the final round and NFF officials are particularly concerned about the fact that Mr Rohr lacks the flexibility to change players or tactics when needed.
Mr Rohr has been summoned to the NFF where he has been told that his position is no longer tenable but honouring the severance pay package in his contract remains a sticking point. One board member said Nigerians have had enough from Mr Rohr and he should be asked to go irrespective of what it entails to severe the contract, while others have asked him to resign as a way around it.
However, the federal government appears to have thrown a spanner in the works as it has told the NFF that every action taking with regards to getting another coach must be tabled before it. Apparently, the federal government through the ministry of youth and sports, has demanded that it be carried along in the search for and subsequent employment of a new coach for the Super Eagles.
One senior ministry official said: “The decision to hire anybody as national coach must be discussed and undergo review. The Super Eagles is Nigeria’s property not a premier club.”
It is believed that the NFF had concluded plans to employ former Serbian national team coach Mladen Krstajić as new coach of the Super Eagles, with NFF president Amaju Pinnick, scheduled to meet him in London today. Mr Krstajic, 47, led Serbia to the 2018 World Cup in Russia where they failed to proceed beyond the group stage of the competition
According to one insider, the NFF has agreed to terminate Mr Rohr’s contract immediately while they work out modalities to pay his severance package which is reported to be around $600,000. Mr Rohr has since returned to his base in France while the NFF are moving ahead with getting a replacement in good time ahead of the 2021 African Cup of Nations, which is just over 40 days away.