Bonfrere: How I Saved Westerhof From Getting Sacked As S/Eagles Coach After 1990 AFCON

Bonfrere: How I Saved Westerhof From Getting Sacked As S/Eagles Coach After 1990 AFCON

Former Nigerian coach Johannes Bonfrere has revealed how he saved compatriot Clemens Westerhof from being sacked as Super Eagles Technical Adviser, after the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria, Completesports.com reports.

Bonfrere, 73, disclosed this in an interview on Monday on Brila FM from his country Holland.


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According to Bonfrere, he was approached by the board of the then NFA after the tournament where the Eagles finished second, but he turned the offer down.

Bonfrere said he had been approached on numerous occasions to replace his country man but kept turning it down.

“I refused to take his job in 1990 in Algeria when the board asked me in a meeting that they would like to sack him and bring me as the head coach.

“But I refused that moment and I have refused many times.”

When asked which of the squads between the 1994 Super Eagles side and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medal winner side he would prefer, Bonfrere said: “I prefer the 1996 squad because they learnt from me how to play football. How to play attack, how to score goals and how to win games. Unlike in 1994 where someone was cheating the team.”

Both Bonfrere and Westerhof who have since fell out, were on opposite benches when Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles hosted Zimbabwe in the last group game in the qualifiers for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games.

Playing inside the mainbowl of the National stadium, Surulere, the U-23 Eagles thrashed the Zimbabweans 4-0 to pick the group’s ticket.

Before the Eagles opened scoring, Westerhof was sent away from the Zimbabwean bench in the first half for misconduct.

Before they fell out Bonfrere was assistant to Westerhof at the Algiers 1990, Senegal 1992 and Tunisia 1994 AFCONs.

Bonfrere was also his assistant at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States where the Eagles got eliminated 2-1 by Italy after extra-time.

He was in charge of the Super Falcons at the maiden edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in 1991.

At the Sydney Olympic games, Bonfrere could not replicate the 1996 feat as the Eagles crashed out in the quarter-final after losing 4-1 to Chile.

Prior to the Sydney games, he led the Super Eagles to a second place finish at the 2000 AFCON co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana.

By James Agberebi

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  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    For me I still prefer this man to coach Rohr.

    During his tenure, he built a solid team that comprises qualities players and golies.

    Jo never putting his team down in front of his opponents.

    Jo, won silver medals while Oga won Bronze medals in Afcon. In this regards, Jo won it all.

    We enjoyed good football when Jo was in charge.

    In Sydney 2000 Olympic games, he made it to the knockout stage.

    And he also won 96 Olympic gold medals.

    If NFF ask me to choose between the both men, I will go Jo.

    Not that Oga Rohr is not trying but when it’s matter most, he can’t deliver the result.

    He had two opportunities and he wasted both.

    NFF should talk to Mr. Jo if he can assist our ex players.

    If he can then, NFF should allow our ex players to be the Super Eagles head coach and Jo should assist them. Like NFA did at the 2000 Afcon, when Keshi was the assistant to Jo.

    But this time around, Eguavon or Amunike should be the head coach while Jo should be helping them.

    Eguavon or Amunike head coach

    Yobo Assistant coach and Jo should help three of them.

    We have options to choose from and we have players that can get the job done.

    I appreciate Oga Rohr efforts and his loyalty over his team but this is another opportunity for us to upgrade the team.

    The condition they gave coach Rohr was rediculous in the first place and if he agreed with that, I don’t see how he can be successful in that situation.

    Within the period of 3 year, he qualified Nigeria to the world cup and Afcon where Oga Rohr won us Silver medals. The German have tried. Although, I’m not satisfied with his tactics most of the time but he’s manageable if he is properly managed but leaving him alone with the team won’t yield a good result.

    We saw the results against Brazil, Algeria, at the world cup and Afcon.

    I’m so sure if we have those names I have mentioned above with the Super Eagles, Nigeria will rule the world.

    Both Bonfrere and Westerhof have issues with each other but I don’t want to go there because I wasn’t there when the issue started. NFF can steps in to settle the issue for both parties.

    God bless Nigeria!!!

    • Oakfield 3 years ago

      Crap as usual

    • Bomboy 3 years ago

      Omo9ja, did you say you prefer this back stabbing retired coach to Mr. Rohr? That is taking it too far.

      I am one of those who wanted Mr. Rohr to be replaced by a more competent hand, but if Bonfrere Jo is our next option, please let us pay Coach Rohr whatever he asks for in order o keep him!!!

      • Omo9ja 3 years ago

        @Bomboy, you are 100% correct. Yes I do prefer Jo to Oga Rohr. See, Jo is better than coach Rohr that is for sure.

        They have something in common at the Afcon tournament but the superiority of Jo is huge.

        If you could remember in Afcon 2000 against Senegal, Akwuegbe couldn’t
        find the back of the net and Senegal was leading Nigeria.

        Chukwu Indukwu was on the bench and other top strikers but Jo didn’t rely on them instead, Jo believes in young talented players and he introduced Agahowa and that guy scored twice and Nigeria won the match 2-1.

        Hmmm, there is a lesson to be learned in that scenario. Jo had Agahowa then and he made us proud.

        Now, compare that to coach Rohr in last year’s Afcon when he preferred Ighalo to any other striker.

        Not until Ighalo was injured and he turned to Osimhen. He didn’t allow Osimhen to show his talent likewise Onyekuru. So, tell me what the manager has bn building over the three years now? Can coach Rohr bench Ighalo for Osimhen? Can he bench Akpayi for Okoye?

        For that past three years, Nigeria has no stable goalkeeper.

        My question is, apart from man management, do you think the coach have something else to add to the team?

        Jo knew how to read game.

        Jo is tactically sound.
        Jo is more experienced.
        Jo is really good at man management as well.
        Jo is confident

        Another example of Jo is that he used Babangida as a main striker against South Africa in Afcon 2000 and he scored twice and Nigeria won the match 2-0. He knows how to switch player from one spot to another.

        Jo is capable to do more than coach Rohr in less than two to three years.

        We are Nigeria and we have players. But I don’t like the way NFF is treating Oga Rohr.

        If NFF doesn’t want his service anymore, they should let him know.

        I love coach Rohr and I appreciate him a lot.

        If we were not Nigeria, we would be satisfied based on what he has accomplished over the three years but we are and we deserves to have

        Two best goalkeepers in Super Eagles, strikers, and two better left footers in the team as well.

        Super Eagles will shake the world if NFF can do the right thing. Super Eagles failed to reach their potential at the world cup and in Afcon under coach Rohr.

        We knew it and why are we deceiving ourselves? Think about it. NFF should let him continue only if he agrees to work with our ex players. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

    • Rubbish analysis, Jo was a failure coaching SE. World Cup 2002 and the 2000 Olympics were his two projects and he failed woefully.
      The 1996 Olympics was already done as per qualification before he joined, and the afcon on home soil was a shamble even with talents at his disposal, he could not manage them.

  • Bonfrere should shut up and go and coach other countries or A-clubs. Must it be Nigeria? What’s the obsession?

    If a coach can’t prove himself outside Nigeria with other national teams or major clubs, he should zip it! Jo is now making noise like a buzzing mosquito in our ears.

  • Some people are enemies of progress, they don’t like good thing. Who ever that is looking for the downfall of Mr.Rohr is an enemy of progress. Mr. Rohr have picked the team from the dust and build a strong team that everyone are enjoying to watch. This was the team that was called super chicken when our indigenous coaches handled, but now it is super eagles because of the quality of both the coach and the players in the team. If we allows Rohr to go because of our greediness and selfishness believe me or not this team will scatter and we will regret.

  • DeStar 3 years ago

    @Omo9ja , you came up with brilliant analysis only to spoil it with some distorted fact . Did oga Rohr won Sliver Medal in the last Afcon in your dream or you are already projecting if he is still on the job he may win Silver ? 

    My brother , that oga Rohr is lazy coach who cannot discover a single reliable goalkeeper in 4 years is a fact ( less than a year Onigbinde discover Enyama, less than a year Oliseh discover Cal Ikpeme ) but suggesting name of Eguafon among your choice is uncalled for , there was little or no differences between Eguafon and oga Rohr , Eguafon is a yes man and like oga Rohr lacks winning mentality like Asenal team , if oga Rohr and Eguafon qualifies for Afcon 10 times I can bet none of the two have wining mentality to win ordinary tea cup  ☕️ , let alone Afcon or performing well in the World Cup . And comparing oga Rohr to Bonfere Jo is also a missed match , a coach that can read game, confused opponents with different formation and redeployment of players , discovering of raw talent , won Sliver, the first African team to win Olympic football gold medal even ahead of almighty Brazil with their national team of the real Ronaldo , Bebeto etc the differences between oga Rohr BJ is 7up , it is simply too clear .
    Even the NFF having watched oga Rohr performance, in both WC & Afcon, they knew with the current level of oga Rohr except he is sent on training under a competent coach , he cannot win a tea cup let alone Afcon even if he is paid I million dollar per month , the NFF knew what they were doing hence the initial proposed plan to send him on further training after his woeful performance at the Afcon ( can you recollect the last decade we won 3rd place match ? It is unthinkable except we did not qualify) , but unfortunately, there is a new Sherif in town in the current sport minister, how would NFF came with such ridiculous idea of wanting to waste taxpayers money on an average foreign coach instead of investing on our local coaches, it is never done except in Nigeria , once your standard was not convincing, the standard practice worldwide is ,the coach is sacked outright not sending him on training to improve on his incompetence ( that is why he is called technical adviser) . A supposed technical adviser cannot be using Nigeria team  as training ground to build his coaching experience cum CV such opportunity should be rather given to our local coaches who given right support with fantastic conditions of service given to oga Rohr ( without owing salary as they never one day owed oga Rohr unlike the way they frustrate our local coaches so as get alibi to go for their so called technical adviser, even late Keshi was owed backlog of salaries just like Siasia) , oga Rohr also miscalculated, when NFF failed to provide money for his training, he ought to have used part of his salary or allowance to go for training under a competent coach , but he thought it would be business as usual  and choose to rely on his propagandist supporters who will be overhyping him ( this is a Coach that his supporters were pressurizing NFF to extend his contract because other countries wanted to snatch him from Nigeria, I laughed no matter how faster lies is , it can never outrun truth. If I may ask where area the countries that wanted to snatch him then ? Who would want to hire a supposed technical adviser that was bundled out of World Cup with shambolic performance of solitary win , a coach that was fighting for a 3rd place match where he was roundly beaten by competent local coach of another team that was assembled within a year ?) 
    Now that new sheriff is in town , why can’t NFF dare to take him on training again with tax payers money,they would have become guest to EFCC .

    Our best option is the duo of Amunike and Yobo , Amunike does not have anything to prove again , having did unthinkable with tiny Tanzania team by setting a record that no coach ( local or white ) has ever achieved in Tanzania  and to also know that,he achieved this with backlog of 5 months unpaid salary unlike oga Rohr who stay with his family in his country home getting his salary alert as at when due . You can imagine, if he would not win Afcon with ease plus great performance in the World Cup if he is given same unfailing salary as oga Rohr.

    Rohr has proved, he does not have anything to offer Nigeria, he does not have winning mentality at a big stage and is also not willing to spend his money to improve himself and above all a lazy coach and over-pampered coach who was too lazy to discover raw talent in our local league and too big too live in a country of his employer  . His current embarrassing situation is due to his incompetence and shameless attitude, otherwise, he ought to have resigned the day NFF recommended for him to undergo training after his woeful performance in the Afcon with his jellyfish goalkeeper ( for your employer to give that verdict , a right coach our to have resigned honourably to go and improve on his competence having been given Vote of No confidence by his employer) .
    What a coach that his contract was not renew few months to the expiration of his contract he would have look for another job or another country would have given him offer , but it is only a Nigeria country that can employ an average coach like Rohr with $50k per month and living in his country home . I am very sure , if not for the new sports minister he would have given additional condition in his new contract that the home match of super eagles should be moved to his country home in Germany since he did not have home based in his team and never made attempt to discover any. Treating a great Nation like Nigeria as if he was doing us favour.
    What a coach that his his assistant was sacked without courtesy of his employer telling him first , how would Yobo that has worked under world class coaches in Europe would want to work under an average coach like oga Rohr , it is unthinkable!

  • Ozony 3 years ago

    Some of your points are relevant but some are simply disparaging like calling Rohr an average coach. Rohr lost to Algeria by that dying-minute penalty from schemer, Mahrez. Also Senegal the best African-ranked team in the tournament fell to the same Algeria meaning that the latter have some panacea up their sleeves. We defeated them in 2016 in Nigeria and also drew them in away en route to the world cup. However, in AFCON, their attack got a boost by their new point man who was in form of his life and capable of running down any defence. It happened to Nigeria in 1982 where Algeria, that they thrashed two years earlier, eliminated them from Espania ’82. If Westerhof was sacked for not winning AFCON ’90 with emerging players like Amokachi, Nigeria would not have won the AFCON two years after. Granted that Rohr made some mistakes in the world cup but remember that Nigeria executed that world cup with average players that were out of form. 
    I, however,  agree with you that Rohr cannot make a good coach by distant-coaching. It was Keshi’s ingenuity in discovering Mbah that won us AFCON 2013.
    Your write-up was as though there was nothing good in Rohr which is not too good. 

  • Dr Tee 3 years ago

    Junks from destar as usual. I wonder why you keep writing paragraphs upon paragraphs just to demean the good works of Mr rhor. Whether we like it or yes he will still go. Bring in your world class coaches let see. The truth is that Nigerians don’t like good things.

  • DeStar 3 years ago

    @Ozony, thanks for great matured and sensible response, 
    What I can deduce from your write up is we are meeting at equilibrium point is , Rohr cannot make a good operating from his comfort home in his country ( it is not done anywhere in the world for a Coach to treat his employer in that manner ) , even world class coach wouldn’t have succeeded ( but who would you blame for this unfortunate distance-coaching contract other than our unpatriotic NFF) 
    2. That it was ingenuity of a local Coach Keshi that lead his discovery of the raw talents like unknown Sunday Mba from our dead supposed dead local league where 40% of the team were made up of unknown players from already written off local league that eventually lead to winning Afcon cup .

    The area of differences:
    Comparing his failure to the the perceived failure of Westerhof first  outing Afcon , the clarification on this , in Westerhof team everyone could see a great champion in the making with the raw talents in the team from local league like the Amokachi and the technical inputs of Westerhof were written all over the team , hence a team that was trashed by 5-1 in the first match got super improvement to such extent of not only reaching final but was only beaten by a loan goal with deafening home and official support as host country. This are the factors that are missing in oga Rohr team , if he has brought in mixture of raw diamonds and failed , we would have appreciated him if we could see talents that are ready to explode with sounds technical inputs but the same deficiencies in the World Cup were same in the Afcon. And again a coach that seriously competed for Cup in the final in his first attempt cannot be compared to Rohr who had already had his own first opportunity in the World Cup , Afcon was therefore his second attempt where he was only good to compete for 3rd place match and not even Sliver .

    3. That he lost in the dying minutes , that is not an excuse irrespective of the form of Algeria 1 player , the player in question is not the best African player in the mould of Mane or Sallah ; it it therefore , not fair to take the credit from a well deserved brilliant local coach of Algeria , if you are to go by that yardstick , then Opinion George Weah’s team who was not only best player in Africa but also the best in the world , yet his coach cannot win Afcon until he retired and I am sure you also know that the 2 best African players on the planet at this moment are Egyptian team of Sallah and Manne yet they were couldn’t win Afcon, it is therefore, disservice to our great players like the tournament highest goal scorer Igalo who was in the same competition with the Algerian player , Ndidi , Mikel &co  co to have given impression as if they were too ordinary . The coach simply needs further training so as to be able to perform at big stage ( if you don’t have wining mentality, you can succeed, it is the same problem with Asenal and not money otherwise , a lowly rated club like Ndidi wouldn’t have won premiership league ahead of Asenal .

    3. I did not condemn oga Rohr completely as bad coach , hence my choice of an average who did not make any effort to improve on his competence to have been rated above our local coaches, to whom much is given , much is definitely expected, being an additional coach , he ought to have help himself not only with self training but extra commitment and taken his job seriously ( I know Germany inside out , no responsible organization in Germany will tolerate such over-bloated ego from a foreigner . The differences between him and Westerhof is technical ability and strong commitment.
    If oga is not a world class coach , why don’t we invest in our local coaches like the Amunikes, Siasia, Oliseh, Yobo , who would not have to be forced to work in Nigeria but his remuneration would have stays in Nigeria to help our economy and beneficiaries to their families in Nigeria. With experience, Nigerians are great achievers and can compete successfully among foreigners if given necessary support with equal opportunity, I am a living example myself. Our local coaches should be given same salary , consistent as Rohr and see great achievement in our super eagles 

  • Kelvin 3 years ago

    As far as world football is concerned, Bonfrere Jo is far ahead of Rohr. He is tactically sound and understands the mentality of Nigerian players, our culture and tradition. Apart from Atlanta Football Olympic in 1996 which he won by beaten the likes Bebeto, Ronaldo of Brazil and other superstars in Brazilian team, Mexico and Argentina, he also won the Afro-Asian Cup in 1995. One unique thing about this man is he plays wonderful brand of football, his changes during the match are always superb. He inspires the team with confidence. Nigeria is often delightful to watch whenever they are playing. Do you know that he qualified South Korea to the world cup, defeated all mighty Germany 3-1 in a friendly match?

    I really would prefer him to Rohr. He is a fantastic coach and well-tested with a huge experience.

  • I prefer Rohr . Go back and look his track record for a short period