NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) officials only restrained themselves from sacking Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr on Friday after the woeful 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone because the team has to play the return leg in Freetown on Tuesday.
On Friday, the Eagles put in one of their worst performances ever, surrendering a 4-0 lead to draw 4-4 at home with Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City. In response to the public anger, the NFF summoned an emergency meeting with the team’s technical crew yesterday and were it not for the fact that a return leg is due on Tuesday, Mr Rohr might well have been sacked there and then.
Angry fans demonstrated outside the stadium after the game forcing the Nigerian team to spend several hours in their changing room before being able to leave. One sports ministry source confirmed that it was the return leg against the Leone Stars in Sierra Leone that saved Mr Rohr’s job.
He added: “There’s the second leg on Tuesday, if not, Rohr would have been sacked immediately after Friday’s game in Benin. Sports minister Sunday Dare has managed the situation very well, that’s why Rohr still has a job today.
“However, whatever the outcome of the second leg in Freetown, win or lose, the coach has to go. A team of experts that analysed him scored him two out of 10. Is that a respectable result for someone managing the Super Eagles?”
Also, the minister’s aide John-Joshua Akanji, advised the NFF to begin the process of disengaging Mr Rohr as the Eagles coach. In addition, the sports ministry has directed the team’s former psychologist Robinson Okosun to return to the squad to psyche up the players ahead of Tuesday’s game.
Mr Akanji added: “This result has raised fundamental questions on the continued retention of a coach who does not appear to be better than indigenous coaches. Is there really a difference between Gernot Rohr and our indigenous coaches who would earn less and in local currency?
“How can we justify the retention of a coach with a strong aversion for local players and our league? How long are we going to waste taxpayers’ money on an incompetent, trial and error journeyman?
“While the match against Sierra Leone in Freetown can still be won to redeem the Eagles’ battered image, the continued retention of Rohr is a keg of gunpowder which could explode in our faces with dire consequences for our football. Further damage to our national pride and football culture can be averted if the NFF commences the process of seeking an alternative to the German. A stitch in time saves nine.”
In May, some sports ministry wanted 73-year-old Englishman Harry Redknapp, to take over from Gernot Rohr, who was being offered a new two-year contract by the NFF. However, Mr Rohr’s contract got renewed with new stringent conditions, including the caveat that he sources more local players.