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“Excited” Rohr On Croatia Challenge, Russian Girls, Super Eagles Chances, Balogun’s Fitness, Racism

“Excited” Rohr On Croatia Challenge, Russian Girls, Super Eagles Chances, Balogun’s Fitness, Racism

By Nnamdi Ezekute in Kaliningrad:

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is excited to lead Nigeria to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.


Rohr, who will be making his coaching debut at the World Cup in Russia, in his pre-match conference here in Kaliningrad on Friday ahead of his side’s opening game against Croatia on Saturday said his side are not the favourites to win the game but they remain ambitious.

“We are excited to be playing at the World Cup in this wonderful country. We had two camps, in very good condition, one in Austria and in Essentuki that is our base camp,” Rohr said.

Zenith Ziva

“The one in Essentuki is very nice, we will want to stay there. They people are very good.

“The challenge is to get out of the group. We play against Croatia for the first time at this level and we are not the favourites.

“If you look at the FIFA rankings we are the lowest ranked team and by that we are supposed to finish last in reference to ranking. That’s why we are hungry, we stay modest but remain ambitious.

“This shows we are ready to get a result tomorrow.

On the facilities in the Kalinigrad Stadium, venue of Saturday’s clash, Rohr said: “The stadium is very nice from the outside, we had a good flight in here and the airport is nice and all seem very ready to host the World Cup.

“Also in Essentuki the facilities are very good as well.”

Rohr also clarified media reports about his comments his players not getting close to Russian ladies during the tournament.

“A journalist asked in Nigeria if players could meet with Russian girls and I replied No!” the German, 64, explained.

“The only one who can meet a Russian girl is the captain because he lives with his wife, a Russian.

“We are here for football. Camp rules are strict. We have discipline and they can only meet their families after the match.”

On his team’s preparation for the game, he said: “We have 23 players in this squad. When we started the preparation three weeks ago. Some of the players had to align to different programmes.

“Some players didn’t play so much in their team and some were tired getting into camp. Everybody is fit now but we have a little problem with Leon Balogun but we will try tonight to see if he will be able to play or not. He is 50-50 at the moment, perhaps till tomorrow.

“Mentally and tactically we know that the Croatian team have good players. We saw them in the finals of UEFA Champions League and in the UEFA Europa League.”

“So big team with stars is better that a team with young qualities.

“They are favourites because they have big players. I think about five of them play in the Italian Serie A, four in the Spanish LaLiga, in big clubs.

“We have players who are not playing in top teams in big leagues and some are not playing regularly but they are young, they will be able to improve in this tournament.”

Rohr also assured that his players will not react to any racial abuse or discrimination when they take on Croatia in Kaliningrad.

“I have had discussions with the players and they won’t react to any racial abuse,” he said. “I participated with UNESCO on this race abuse. The atmosphere when we arrived was very good.

“We played in Krassnodar in one of friendlies against Argentina. I’m sure that the hospitality which we have received will continue.

“We have some Russian nationality in our team, Bryan Idowu, Ahmed Musa who plays for CSKA Moscow and the captain who has a Russian family here too.

“So perhaps we don’t have anything to lose. All the players are not thinking about discrimination.”

He also revealed that his side will be watching the game between Argentina and Iceland which kicks off hours before his team’s game against Croatia.

“We have enough time to watch the match we have a scout there who will bring us reports. We have great and technical players in both teams,” Rohr added.

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  • Djeniko 3 years ago

    Is there any reason to say that we have a scout that will watch the Iceland vs Argentina match and bring report? Our coach and the players talk too much!!! Musa, Mikel, Etebo, Echiejele, Ighalo, and others have been talking a lot on social media. Is it excitement or oversabi? Less talk the better to keep the opponents guessing. Be quick to listen, slow to mouthing.

    • Omaskels 3 years ago

      Let dem talk ooo ..at least to ginger d team..d players need to talk to takeaway fear frm dem..whether dey lik it or not,Super Eagles will soar in Russia ..

    • @Djeniko,
      9 days ago the coach said his team is not ready in a press conference.
      Earlier today was for press conference which is another opportunity meant to talk about the team’s readiness as well as updating the fans on preparedness, readiness,state of mind and boost self confidence.

      If you are not convinient with it, you can ignore.

      • Who says we ain’t ready? I think the idea is to give the Croatians a false sense of superiority… This way, they’d underrate the Nigerians at their peril…

    • So you mean they should keep mute when others are talking? I don’t understand nigerians ,the most important thing is that they respect their opponents which I think they have done. I don’t understand what you mean by they talk too much.

    • There is absolutely NITHING wrong in what the coach said. He was cautious in his words and some statements he made like mentioning the scout is measured and calculated. If you keep quiet in situations like this fear might build up. Let them talk and exude confidence if it will boost their morale, instead of faking humility while fear keeps hibernating within. I think we need to cut Rohr and his players some slack. Some battles of life begin with words of assurance which lifts up the emotions and intellect to perform. Fly Super Eagles. Whether you win or lose, some of is are solidly behind you.

    • Donbenie 3 years ago

      Your opponents are not Fools,of course they know you have a Scout to watch them play..this is not time for modesty,the Coach has to hype and ginger his team to perform to their best the hour is at hand,if you don’t blow your trumpet nobody will..

  • It was the talk David used to defeat Goliath

  • So you mean they should keep mute when others are talking? I don’t understand nigerians ,the most important thing is that they respect their opponents which I think they have done. I don’t understand what you mean by they talk too much.

  • Nigeria will beat Croatia,draw Iceland, and beat Argentina to qualify top of the group. Mark my words.

  • Toluwani 3 years ago

    The coach has done absolutely nothing by talking too much, every coach does that. It eases fear from their minds. I’m sure super eagles will qualify. We beat them today, then beat Iceland then draw Argentina.

  • I totally agree with you. Up super eagles! Up Nigeria!

  • naija….. first African nation to get A point or 3 point……? finger cross. God bless Nigeria

  • Paul Bright 3 years ago

    What ever may 9ja will qualify 4 the next stage

  • Talk or no talk, it matters not. What matters is what you can do in 90 minutes. Let’s hope and pray that the eagles do not lose concentration and remain focus throughout the duration of the match. Today’s opponent has notable stars which Nigeria can’t boast of. But the Nigeria spirit is a big plus. Let’s support these young boys who shoulder the burden of over 190 million Nigerians.