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INTERVIEW – Rohr: How Super Eagles Will Fight In Tough 24-Team AFCON 2019

INTERVIEW – Rohr: How Super Eagles Will Fight In Tough 24-Team AFCON 2019

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.


Super Eagles

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.

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  • Darey 2 years ago

    Ebuehi doesn’t have a clean bill of health so it is excused because we know he would have been here!!! I think rohr has seen the players at close quarters for him to be sure of Nigerians seeing a better team……Goodluck to em

    • Ronald Odion Adaghebalu 2 years ago

      How do you mean? We need to understand that that the right-back is his natural position though he has the flare to flicker in the middle n left wards as well. Ebuehi is designed and built for that position. He is technically better whoever the coach is fielding, has got the speed to initiate and support attack and positioning is awesome. Rohr made a mistake in that regard. Anyways let’s hope for the better after all, it’s about seeing the Nigerian colors flying higher.

      • Dr. Drey 2 years ago

        …and now that he’s not fully recovered from his long term injury…? Do we leave out fit players who have been playing all season for him…?

  • Pompei 2 years ago

    Now, here is a team where selection is based on merit, unlike the SAMBISA ELEVEN. I really fancy our chances, because we have a strong bench. This side is definitely one of the strongest we’ve had in a while. Let’s hope for the best.

    • Dr. Drey 2 years ago

      And later some hate-filled egocentric fellows will say the coach is not doing anything. Bunch of ingrates. When last did we have a SE team whose bench is as good as the starting 11….???

      • Alli Falana 2 years ago

        Idiot must you insult people. Get some manners Alamu Oboh

        • Dr. Drey 2 years ago

          Street-dog…born by mistake…. oya come and give me manners na…? Fool. The wicked run when no one pursueth. Big-mouth….you will tel me where i mentioned your name in my statement.

  • Alamin 2 years ago

    they will say the coach is not technically good and I am still wondering when some of them is saying this and that player should have been invited after the coach have invited d best and inform players.
    true talk my fellow brothers, I am sure this yr Afcon is going to be in top 10 Afcon in history. and I very happy with d squad we are taking there, as u said d bench is as almost good as the first 11. anybody who thinks d coach is not doing is job should take up his post then. see Dr Drey when d tournament start let them go and sleep by d tym there will realize d super eagles would have past d quarter final stage, so shall it be.Amen

    • LordOpus 2 years ago

      I agree with you although some players deserve to be there ahead of kelechi iheanacho in term of merit. But it’s still a good list overall. I wish us the best

  • Coach Rhor is too conservative, lacks faith and confidence in himself and in his players.
    Believes that other teams are the team to beat instead of his own team.
    When you prepare forban exam and you know your capabilities, you can confidently say I will make an A.
    Where is your bragado bro?
    Even if he wins the AFCON and donot play a good game like the Algiers ’90 team or the USA ’94 team, he will still not earn the support of many nigerian fans.
    We are trying to build a semi finalist team for the next world cup.
    That should be our goal as a soccer giant.

    • Omo9ja 2 years ago

      @CJ, you nailed it too well bro. I don’t need to talk anymore. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Mr Hush 2 years ago


    I understand your point bro.
    His speech didn’t instill confidence in you..

    But you should speeches don’t kill birds.actions do.
    The man with the guns,sometimes remain humble,cause he knows ,when the time comes the gun would do all the talking and the bullets would sing the songs.
    Believe me,Mr Rohr got big guns that can shoot good bullets.I don’t need his speech.I need his actions at the right time.

    Yes.They might play good football,but I assure you,many Nigerians prefer winning the cup ,rather than playing good football and not winning anything.(trust me we have been that road before,)..

    But like I said,I share your worry.
    But let’s wait and see how it goes at the Afcon;then we talk about being semi finalist in a World Cup 3years away.

  • Edoman. 2 years ago

    Why put a horse before a cart ?. Rohr expression is appropriate at this time.

    Some Nigerians are full of gra, gra emotions and expect the same herbit from this mature coach.

    Would you rather have Rohr or you have Aigbogun to manage the super eagle?.

    Rohr is a God-sent coach at this time. You don’t know what you have until you loose it.

  • Ndubuisi 2 years ago

    Constructive criticism is accepted but trying to find faults all the time may not be the best. Rohr has spoken well. I have not seen any coach among the 24 teams that has boasted confidently he’s going to win the tournament. We all know we have assembled a strong team but let’s wait and see how it goes. Remember best teams does not win all the time. Argentina with messi did not win last world cup. Take note @Cj

  • Why y’all been deluded? A team that got no goalkeepers. Say what you like, I’m only being objective. The team have no chance of winning the trophy with this coach, with his late substitution.

    • Mr Hush 2 years ago

      And your objectivity is that everyone else with that believe in this team is delusional..
      And you think they won’t think the same of you,that doubt?
      I guess you knew most never thought the Keshi’ s team of 2013 can win the Afcon,atleast not with the unknowns in that team( oboabona,Mba); yet they won..
      Would you say,that the 2013 team is better than this team; in terms of quality and dedication??

      Let’s be rational;help me out..
      What yardstick did you use  to come to your conclusion,that they won’t win the cup?
      Don’t tell me because they got no keepers?
      Ivory Coast won with Barry,that isn’t that Fantastic..besides,everyone coming to this Afcon have a blight in their team as well.
      Egypt is dependent on mainly Salah.
      Senegal have quality but their goalkeeper is missing through injury as well.
      Cameroon loads of misses,a new squad, new coach to the African terrain .
      Ghana,players intrigue and toothless attack still dependent on an aging striker.
      Morocco ,Algeria,Tunisia,playing in Egypt could be detriment to  them winning ,cause every Arab state is rival to each other. The Egyptian public would rather die than allow their fellow Arab states win in their tuff.i assure that intrigue plays a lot in football in the Arab( check out the CAF champions league whenever the Arab teams meet).
      South Africa,please…
      So why don’t Nigeria stand a chance again?

      Oh,you don’t like the coach and his late substitutions?
      But his team has been doing great,atleast in the African continent,even with his late substitutions..

      Statistics shows this team has a high chance of winning due to their in form records,especially as it regards playing against African oppositions.

      Almost every other team coming to this tournament has picked Nigeria as one of their favourites to win..

      Although I respect your opinion ,
      But you have to leave room for the fact that this is the Super Eagles we are talking about, even if the coach is weak tactically,Nigeria is never a push over,(atleast not for the Afcon).
      So I beg to differ that people saying they have a good chance of winning are deluded.
      And that is just empty fan’s passion speaking,the facts,stats ,quality and nation back them up. 

      • Ndubuisi 2 years ago

        You have said it all

      • Lord AMO 2 years ago

        You are a true analyst of the African game my broda

      • Franklin 2 years ago

        Also even when the great Barça of guadiola was dominating Europe Valdez has always being their weak point. But did it stop them frm winning trophies d answer is a resounding no. So football is a team game my brothers. Let’s support our team especially with dis beautiful squad we re taking 2 afcon.

  • Desmond john 2 years ago

    I am confident that super eagles will soar high in this year Afcon , judging from their preparation and the selected good legs

  • PapaFem 2 years ago

    I like this coach for one thing: he doesn’t count his chickens before they are hatched. Rohr has been in the game for long to know how to manage fans’expectations. You won’t expect him to promise a bridge when there’s no river. He is not a politician. Some of us, fans of the SE, have this self disilluson and have criminalized modesty. We want our coaches to promise AFCON trophy when we all know that we’re not even number three on the favorite list. Not forgetting that many of the players in that team are so young that half of them could pass for another country’s Olympic team. We failed to qualify in the last two editions. Meaning 90% of the team are attending their first AFCON. Yes!! The team reeks with talented players. But it takes more than talents to win competitions of this magnitude. If tournaments are won on the platform of talents available, Nigeria should have won 1994 WC. We had in it our pocket until a talented but young and inexperienced Olishe booted the ball out against Italy in the 2nd round match with just 2 mins to go, when he should have simply kept the ball and ran down the clock. Against Argentina in Russia, we lost it 5 mins to the end because the team didn’t just know how to keep a rampaging team out of dangerous areas in the final moments. Against Algeria on 1990 the young team assembled by Clemence Westehoff fell victim of inexperience in that final match against Raber Madjer and Co. They are little things, and they count alot. This is what many of us seem not to see. But the coach understands better and he is tacitly drumming it into the ears of his players that even if we are in a supposed easy group, there is nothing free in Freetown. That doesn’t mean he lacks confidence or doesn’t believe in his team. It’s just a way he has chosen to work and we have to respect that. I know the team will do well if Rohr and his men get their tactics right. But he doesn’t have to build a heap of pressure on himself or the team to achieve that. Let’s allow him do his job. Afterall, the end will justify the means.

    • God bless you my brother, we all saw how the great defending champion Germany were bundled out of the last world cup with the array of stars at their disposal with the same coach that won it at the last competition. Football is an unpredictable sports that even the best of stars or training can disappoint.

      some peoples temper will only be appeased if Gernot rhor comes on air to tell us that Nigeria will beat all it’s opponent with a minimum of 5 goals per match as if Barcelona with all its stars could score just a goal against Liverpool.

      Win or Loose, the coach has done well so far. God will help them to excel in this AFCON in Jesus name!

  • its all good. but I think we have too few midfielders in the team

    • We are just getting it right through Rohr after being with d team for a while now like westerof…..so it’s our time to shine and win d cup as many times as posible before d team fades out.All we got to do is Support d coach and d team as individual,firm and country as a whole and a super eagle greater than ’94 set will this be…..post wise critical.

  • Nigerians, will always find the negative. If he says “we can win it” not we will win it oh, ‘can’ they will say he is boasty, too cocky, remember Denmark etc.
    If he says “we respect or opponents” they will say he is too fearful, lacks confidence and too meek.
    Here is a man who has moved our national team forward from one who cannot qualify for AFCON for two consecutive tournaments to a days that reeks quality, that has strength in depth and he speaks as he is trained, bit we will always find people who will focus on the negative.

    Let’s look at 2017. Just two years ago. The countries football was gaining AT ALL LEVELS. Under 17, under 20 and the Super Eagles failed to qualify for A SINGLE tournament. Not one team, not one tournament, ALL!!!

    All of a sudden, we must win AFCON or he’s a loser. He took us to the world cup in a season that we did not even have a functioning league, but he’s not fit for the job?

    As for me, if we teach the semis, I’ll term it a success, I want to win it, but we have to get past a team that has beaten us in the last year consistently AT ALL LEVELS, Senegal. We also have to get past Egypt, the host nation.

    Yes we are unbeaten in the continent, but me, I’m not boasty. And I’m also satisfied that he had assembled the best we have got at this time.

  • You can only play with two holding midfielders. Last time I checked, 

    Can and all play holding midfield roles for their clubs.   How many should we carry 8. In a 4-2-3-1 or 3-5-2, the third midfielder is always an Attacking midfielder, such as Iwobi. If he gets hurt, Mikel becomes the AM. The others revert to wide midfield/ forward roles:

    Simon, Onyekuru, Chukwueze and Kalu. These roles require a high work rate player that can attack and defend and stay outside. 

  • Nigeria will do well . The coach is right in not putting pressure on himself and the team by saying they will win it . Don’t be fooled in training he is saying let’s get to the next round and let’s take it one game at a time . The boys and coach don’t go to lose . They go to win . Support the boys with all your hearts and let them do the talking on the pitch . Eagles will surprise many