Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr says his players must work work hard to beat the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Friday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture.
Completesports.com’s Adeboye Amosu who is currently covering the Super Eagles’ activities in Benin City, presents Rohr’s responses to questions about his teams preparations for match.
Rohr on the Super Eagles’ 100% Record in AFCON 2021 qualifiers so far
“I think kudos must go to the players because they all played a big role in making it possible. We all work in the same direction. The players, the technical crew and all the staff.
We are always ready to give our best. The game tomorrow is not going to be easy. Unfortunately for us, some of the players arrived yesterday night. Our tradition is to always qualify with a game to spare and we want to continue in that tradition.”
Rohr’s Thoughts on Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium pitch
“I think the pitch is similar to the one in Asaba. The grass is good and the environment is beautiful. We have trained on it and the players like it. It is a good pitch for football.
It is okay, but not so big, which means we have to find space for us to be able to play our football. We have a good strategy for the game and we will adapt.”
Preparations ahead of the match against Leone Stars
“This is not a friendly, but a qualifying game. We have some players who came in yesterday which is not ideal for our preparation. The players who came in late are yet to recover fully from long travelling and long waiting at airports.
They had light sessions yesterday. We have to be careful with the players. Some of our players have not played much for their clubs this season. We have to find the right capacity to train. We have to play our football.
The training sessions are not enough for us. But we are used to it. Even before our first against Benin Republic we didn’t have time to prepare well.”
Rohr on midfielder’s and new players invited
“We invited some young midfielders for our last two games against Algeria and Tunisia. Samson Tijani and Frank Onyeka. We also invited Maduka Okoye, other young goalkeepers and Kevin Akpoguma.
Now we have large pool of players to pick from. Samuel Kalu and Moses Simon are missing and we have good players who can replace them. There is Chidera Ejuke and Emmanuel Dennis, who plays with his club in the Champions League.
There is also another player Zaidu Sanusi who plays for Porto in the Champions League.”
Rohr on the strength of the opponents – the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone
“It is important to always respect your opponent – no small team again in football. You have to stay humble and recognise the other team is strong too.
Sierra Leone have a lot of good players playing abroad -professional players in Switzerland, Spain, England, United States of America and other parts of the world. They have a very good player in Kei Kamara, who is experienced and can cause problems for us. We have to be determined to beat them . We must have the passion to win the game.
Then the African condition is not easy. The pitch, weather and other conditions. Don’t forget we have not played here in Nigeria for close to a year now which could affect the players as they are all coming from Europe.”
Rohr on Eagles’ approach to Friday’s match
“We have to take things easy. We know a lot of things about the Sierra Leone team. We have monitored them for sometime now. We have some videos of the team with us. It’s going to be a physical game. West African is very physical which is not our kind of football, but we have to be ready.
We have good midfielders -Oghenekaro Etebo, Joe Aribo and Alex Iwobi who can play one touches and good passes. There is also Samuel Chukwueze.
The short preparation is not good for us, but we have to be determined, show passion and have good spirit too.”