Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr spoke with the media in Asaba on Wednesday ahead of the international friendly match against Zimbabwe in the buildup to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Completesports.com with the details…
Rohr on the current Super Eagles squad for AFCON 2019
Nigerians can expect a team with wonderful players. This team is young, but we also have very experienced players, I think it is a cocktail of youthfulness and experience.
What we have to do now is work on the match fitness of all the Super Eagles’ players because if you want to go far in this AFCON, you will have to do seven games, this is the first time that we will have 24 teams.
Also, our players will have to be very fit because of the high temperature that they will be facing in Egypt which will be between 40 and 45 degrees centigrade.
Nigerians can expect a team with a fighting spirit too because it is in the people’s character to always fight hard and give their best in everything they do.
On Nigeria’s chances of winning the 24-team AFCON 2019 title…
You all know that we are preparing very hard already, and our first match at the AFCON is against Burundi who we want to beat.
We also have in our group two teams (Burundi and Madagaacar) who are newcomers, making it to the AFCON for the first time and people think it is not a tough group. But I know it will not be easy to play against such countries.
Those teams who are minnows usually have enthusiasm. And Guinea are also a very good side.
Well, we have to come out of this group first before even talking about going ahead to win the trophy. We will still have to go past the Round of 16 and then, we will play the quarter-final after which comes the semi-final before the final. You can see that we have a lot of games to play, but we are ready.
I however feel that it will not be too difficult for us as it was at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but I see Nigeria going far as all of our players want to win, but let us prepare very well first.
About Mikel’s return to the Eagles…
His integration was not hard at all as he and I were always in touch even when he was not playing for the Super Eagles, but I must be honest with you that I and all the players are very happy to see him back again.
So far, so good, Mikel has been working very well and also very strong during our every training session, and he also didn’t lose form as he had a good time with Middlesbrough where he spent the last six months of the season.
Despite that, though, he still needs to blend much better with the team which has about five or six new players, and that has been the case ever since the World Cup last year.
Well, it is my job now to make sure that the team is in very good shape.
On Tyrone Ebuehi exclusion in the 25-man provisional list…
Everybody just wants to see his favourite player or is that not the case? (laughter in the press conference hall).
We have called up 25 players to camp and those are the very best.