NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick has revealed that Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr will not be sacked despite the recent poor performances of the ream because the cost of dismissing him are too high.
In the last two matches the Super Eagles played, the team was woeful, unable to beat lowly Sierra Leone over two legs, throwing away a four nil lead in the first leg at home to draw 4-4 and then playing a barren draw away in Freetown. This comes on the back of two lacklustre performances in October friendlies when the Eagles lost 0-1 to Algeria and played a 1-1 draw with Tunisia.
With the team not only failing to improve but showing signs of regression, there have been loud calls for Mr Rohr to be sacked over the last week. Over the last few days, sports minister Sunday Dare has waded into the discussion, saying he does not see how the Super Eagles can progress with Mr Rohr is still in charge of the team.
Under pressure to act, the NFF, who is Mr Rohr’s employer, has said that it cannot sack the coach, however because it would cost too much. In may, Mr Rohr signed a new two year contract with the NFF that included several clauses, including amendments that the coach lives in Nigeria, gets paid in naira, pays tax and monitors the local league to scout for talent.
First appointed in August 2016, Mr Rohr signed an initial two-year deal with the NFF and this has now been extended twice. If the NFF decided to sack Mr Rohr, the federation will have to buy out his contract and pay off the remainder of what he is owed, which Mr Amaju is wary of doing because of the costs involved.
To make matters worse, the NFF with then have to raise fresh cash to employ a new coach, who will want at least as much as Mr Rohr currently gets paid. According to Mr Pinnick, Nigeria cannot afford to sack the German, especially since he just signed a new two-year deal in May.
He added: “We cannot afford to sack Gernot Rohr. We cannot.”
Nigeria still has two matches to play in her African Cup of Nations qualifiers when she faces Benin Republic away in Port Novo and then squares up to Lesotho at home in march next year. After that, it is then on to the World Cup qualifiers where Nigeria has been grouped alongside Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia.
If the Eagles skip up in any of these games, the calls for Mr Rohr to get sacked will become louder. Fans are particularly irked by his inexplicable selection decisions like playing centreback Felix Akpoguma at rightback when he has about three natural players for the position available, using Semi Ajayi in midfield while ignoring the like of Kelechi Nwakali and Alhassan Yusuf and continuing to use the lacklustre Ahmed Musa upfront when he has better options in the form of Chidera Ejuke and Henry Onyekuru at his disposal.