INTERVIEW – Rohr: Super Eagles Can Win 2021 AFCON, But..

INTERVIEW – Rohr: Super Eagles Can Win 2021 AFCON, But..

Nigeria’s senior national team head coach, Gernot Rohr says the Super Eagles need to stay humble and qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations first before dreaming about lifting the trophy for the fourth time. Rohr told Channels Television in an interview monitored Monday why he accepted a cut in his salary as he strives to become the longest serving Eagles coach…

Covid19 has posted a lot of things in our world of sports. When football comes back, do you think it will ever be the same again?

Rohr: Football is going to change and I hope our society will have respect for other people, to take care of the poor people, people with health problems. And also, you can see the stadia are empty already. I think it will come back to matches with crowd but not full stadium for the moment. I think by September and October, we will have games perhaps with 10,000 people in the big stadium of Alianz in Munich. We will have matches in different kind of spirit, I hope, with more fair play, with more respect. I think, perhaps, something positive will come out of this covid19.

What is it like playing football without fans?

It’s different and more like in training. In training, we are alone most of the time with nobody watching us. We do training games, you can hear the coaches speaking, hear the staff participating, you can hear the players crying and all this thing, you don’t have it when there is a crowd. You know that now, especially in Munich and other stadium also, they have the audio with sounds of fans but in an empty stadium. It’s a make-believe for the players to think fans are in the stadium. But it is different, we need our fans, we need the crowd and I hope very soon we can see matches with our people and I think it will start with a few thousands in the big stadium. And then if the number of the Covid19 cases are going down, we will have more people filling the stadium again and perhaps next year, it will be like before hopefully.

Contract renewal has been done with some conditions. One of the conditions is that you will be paid in Naira and the other you will live in Nigeria. And you also said you don’t even mind getting a lower salary. Coach, explain this your love for Nigeria?

You know that I never speak about the confidential side of my contract. You heard President Pinnick as your invited guest and he spoke about it. He is the boss and he can do all he wants, but for me, I never spoke about it. You know, this is a job that is very special because this team is my team. I build it together of course with my officials, and staff and it’s a new and young team. The mission is not finished for the moment and I want it to continue. And I think that the period we are living now with the Covid19 has affected the business side of football everywhere, everybody has to do sacrifices – and I am the first. Let’s continue to work with this good and young team. These officials have confidence in my work and I want to thank all the officials and Mr. Pinnick who has giving me the opportunity to continue to work with this team. We have good solidarity and it’s a very good relationship not only with the team and staff but also with the officials. And I think this needs time, you cannot come and find it in a few weeks, or a few months this cohesiveness we have now. We want to continue in this spirit, we want to win our games, we want to play well, we want to see our players progress, and think everybody will be happy in Nigeria.

Do you think you can actually win the Nations Cup with these Eagles and also qualify for the World Cup because that is part of the contract?

I think we have a chance to win the next Nations Cup but first we have to qualify – it’s not finished. We’ve started very well with two victories. But you know it’s always easy to say we will win the Nations Cup. We will go into the quarter finals of the World Cup but let’s stay humble, please. We all the time have our philosophy in our team and staff to stay humble, to respect the other team, to respect the opponents and we will not change. I think we have a good team, we are already number three now in Africa when I arrived, we were number 13. So we are on a good way but it needs time and we even don’t know when the AFCON will hold. I recently had a video conference with all my staff – medical and technical staff. I wanted to introduce Joseph Yobo, my new assistant and I spoke with my doctors, my physios, everybody. We are preparing the future now and we want to know how we can win the AFCON. Let’s qualify first and I think we are on a good way to that and then, let’s stay humble if we want to win it.


What’s your stand on home based players and their chances of playing in the Super Eagles?

Everybody has a chance to come to the Super Eagles. Everybody who is doing well in his club. We don’t look where they are playing, we only see the quality of the players. Unfortunately, the Nigerian league is not playing for the moment like a lot of other leagues, but they have the chance to come. You know I’ve invited already 23 players from the Nigerian league and I still have one most of the time with me – goalkeeper Ezenwa. But all the other players we invited, once they are in the Super Eagles team, they go to Europe and they are sold to this or that club. And then they are no more Nigerian players. We have also the CHAN team which is only for players who are playing in the Nigerian league and who can play for the CHAN tournament. Unfortunately, they are not qualified for the one in Cameroon but the best players in that CHAN team have the chance to come into my team. Me and my assistants are looking out for them – we will watch the games as we always do.

The last time, it was Yusuf Salisu that lead the CHAN team to the finals in Morocco and brought three players for us and now they are in Europe. So, it’s like that. You cannot all the time invite local players and then they go to Europe and you want me to invite other local league players – it’s not always possible. But we want to have the best one and if you want to come in now you have to be very strong because we have very good young players in Europe. Players who are born of Nigerian parents are so strong and it is very difficult for local players to displace them in the team.

Also Read: Pinnick: Flying Eagles, Eaglets, Others Now To Earn 100% Of W/Cup Appearance Money

It is part of your contract to have these local players in the team, how do you intend to work round that?

It’s not part of my contract to take players who are not so good as the ones already in the team. I can chose my players myself – it is most important, so nobody can tell me you’ve to take this one, or that one. I can take the best players and I don’t do it alone, we have a team in our staff. I have my assistants, I have my analyzer and every Monday we have our meeting and we talk about the weekend games, what the players did. We have to take the best ones no matter where they are coming from.

Having taking these young team to the Nations Cup and World Cup, how much work do you still need to do with the Super Eagles?

The work is to be in touch with the players, to see them and have good communication especially at this time now when there are no matches for us. We have some injured players, like our goalkeeper Uzoho was injured but now coming back and working very hard, we have our fitness coach to help him. Also Tyrion Ebuehi and Emmanuel Dennis are injured and can use this break to recover and come back. So the work at the moment is to be close to the players, advise them and care for them. Very soon, the transfer window will open by June, July, August and we hope some of them can go to better clubs to progress and play much more in competitive games.

So it is important to have injured players back, instill our philosophy into the players – few touches, playing quickly, go forward with our quick wingers and score goals. Defensively, we also have to be strong. So we need time to forge such a solid team because we don’t have many games in the national team as it is in the clubs where they play every weekend. We’ve had four years already to work together and I think we can progress further.

I hope we can play in September, it’s not sure yet if the leagues are starting or not. But Germany has laid a good example even with the Covid19 and it’s working, I hope other leagues will resume soonest.


Are you keeping in touch with the players during this Covid19 pandemic?

Of course. The first thing to know is if they are in good health. We are in touch all the time with all the 35 players and none of them is sick. And our injured players I spoke about are on the good way coming back. We have good relationship with them all including the captain Ahmed Musa and assistant, William Troost-Ekong.

So the players want to play again and are training. France have stopped their league while other leagues are getting ready to restart. So we have Samuel Kalu back in Nigeria on holiday with his family. Simon Moses and Victor Osimhen also play in France. Now Osimhen I think, have very good opportunity to move from Lille perhaps to the English Premier League or Italian Serie A in a very big club. This will be a success for him and the Super Eagles to have players playing in the Champions League clubs. If we have our players playing in the very high level in the clubs, our level in the Super Eagles will be growing also.

Are you in support of Osimhen leaving Lille this season or do you think he should stay for another season?

If he stays for another season in Lille, it’s good for him because he is playing regularly. If he goes to another big club – you’ve seen the clubs who are eventually ready to buy him now, he’s not so sure to play because there is a big competition for the starting places in the team.

If he stays in Lille, it will be good because he will progress, we’re sure about this. But he is also able now because he is progressing so much to play in a very big club. It’s depending, if he has competition, it’ll be better to play in a better club than Lille. If he’s not playing, it’s not so good for him because a young player like him has to play for him to progress.

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  • “Everybody has a chance to come to the Super Eagles. Everybody who is doing well in his club. We don’t look where they are playing, we only see the quality of the players.”Gernot Rohr

    Now, this is even more music to my ears.

  • My top 2 takeaways from this rather lengthy and comprehensive interview with Rohr are:

    1) Hope for homebased players: Everybody has a chance to come to the Super Eagles. Everybody who is doing well in his club. We don’t look where they are playing, we only see the quality of the players.”Gernot Rohr

    2) With planning, preparation and humility, can win Afcon 2020:I think we have a chance to win the next Nations Cup; we are preparing the future now and we want to know how we can win the AFCON; our philosophy in our team and staff to stay humble, let’s stay humble if we want to win it. Gernot Rohr.

  • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

    Hehehehe….where are all the haters…??
    Now that the full interview has been published and the complete context of Rohr’s statements have been laid bare…..pls where are the haters….why have they suddenly gone silent. Pls you guys should come back and raise your usual storm in a tea cup o.

    Incase you all missed it, same way you always miss realities and hang on to imaginations….

    “…. I think we have a chance to win the next Nations Cup but first we have to qualify – it’s not finished. We’ve started very well with two victories. But you know it’s always easy to say we will win the Nations Cup. We will go into the quarter finals of the World Cup but let’s stay humble, please. We all the time have our philosophy in our team and staff to stay humble, to respect the other team, to respect the opponents and we will not change. I think we have a good team, we are already number three now in Africa when I arrived, we were number 13 (no 16 actually). So we are on a good way ….”

    • KangA 4 years ago

      Would you mind these retrogressive folks who are out tio disparage Rohr’s well-thought-out effort. They expect Rohr to brag that he’ll win the nation’s cup with all other FAs listening! Is that the best strategy? Let them read The Art of War by the ancient Chinese warrior Tsu. Rohr is following his strategy, taught not only in military science, but in business and management classes these days

    • Mr Hush 4 years ago

      @Dr Drey

      With all respect,
      I know they got those that are outright “mean no well”

      You are always objective, so please pipe down with the attack to others. Not everyone that criticise and raise a point is a Hater.
      Some criticism comes from a honest,good place.
      Even when we are on the same team, we might have different views to an issue, it doesn’t mean it was all born out of hate. It is all about raising issues objectively and laying out solutions and views. Even the teacher learn.

      But all good.

      I am just saying….

      • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

        @ Mr Hush
        Of course….just as you have rightly said, there are outright “mean no wells”…very evident. They know themselves, even though sometimes they try to smokescreen us like wolves in sheep clothing. When I make reference to haters…even their own fingers point at them.

        Of course even while on the same team, we might have different views to an issue, absolutely, no problems with that. Afterall its a free world…we agree to disagree and disagree to agree. But we all know an honest criticism when we see one. And we all know the masters of that art here. Criticisms that do not conflict in anyways with facts, statistics and figures. Criticisms that can be read and verified from multiple sources. Such critics can never be haters…and they have nothing to fear, because the truth always stands tall even in the midst of a multitude of lies.

        When criticisms have no basis, no facts, no verified sources, lacks objective reasoning, conflicts with logic and common sense and are simply cooked up fables that cannot be cited from any sources….that’s pure hatred. Those who are masters of that art too know themselves. And like hot coal, may the truths we say continue to burn their hearts till 2022.

        • Mr Hush 4 years ago

          @Dr Drey

          Totally understand you.
          I can relate with that…

      • Chima E Samuels 4 years ago

        @Hush God bless you. This also goes to Oakfield. You both need to slow down and let the forum be of one mind and happiness even though people disagree.

        Omo9ja and co all have their reasons no one is making a cent from supporting SE. We only derive joy of sportsmanship therefore we can’t all see life the same way. But we can learn with non bias criticism or hate out of self defense or inferiority defense when we are all one regardless of any attainment!

  • Jigga 4 years ago

    In as much as I’m not a big fan of GR I feel he should be giving the support to finish what he has started.. Its not easy to build a team from the scratch….
    Over the years we’ve been hearing various coaches talking about rebuilding, had we sacked Rorh another coach would come and start he’s own rebuilding thereby starting from the scratch….so I feel Our football Is on the right path at least till 2022 then we can decide whats next for us

  • Mr Hush 4 years ago

    Totally impressed by this interview.
    More so for the interviewer, they asked the right questions.And the coach gave the right answers.Honest,open and filled with belief.

    There is nothing more to add to this.
    Crystal clear.

    It affirms my continuous belief in Rohr.
    It can only come good..

    Keep supporting.
    And keep hoping.

  • GR needs to change his assistants, he needs better football technocrats to assist him not scouts, agents and people in football management consultancy masquerading as licensed football coaches/trainers. None of his current assistants can come forward to show any caf or uefa or the Americas A licence football badge.
    He needs to sit down with himself and look into this. You don’t need the best eleven in every position to win a tournament and you don’t need to be ranked number one to win a tournament. What you need is a team (which includes on/off field players and back room staffs) with good plans and strategy.

  • Goal ⚽️ 4 years ago

    Drey is everywhere looking for who to fight with…..

    None of the progressive minds have your time.

    Should we appoint you as the chief troublemaker in this form?

    • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

      Hahahaha….Drey is looking for who to fight, so you, what are you looking for…whom to tell more lies? 12 comments have been posted here with no qualms but you jump in like a duiker or an antelope, frustrated and defeated, and accuse someone else of looking for a fight….following it up with an instant like for yourself to give you that ‘feel good’ effect of dopamine because your conscience is telling you that you have hit the corner flag from the penalty spot (once again as usual) instead of the back of the net…..LMAO. Your jealousy is legendary…lolz.

      Your Progressive Regressives can never have time….they’ve run out of lies to tell and failed woefully to foist fake guadiolas on us….so we understand when you all are in you kernels licking your wounds…LMAO

      • Goal ⚽️ 4 years ago

        I have for long be waiting on you prove so-called lie wrong but you are not able to.
        Super Eagles belongs to Nigerians and not anybody’s property, we will continue to provide meaningful contributions to make our team great again.

  • larry 4 years ago

    The progressives don’t comment on irrelevant issues. The progressives identified GR’s weaknesses and offered suggestions on ways to make things better.
    The progressives identified irregularities in GR’s old contract and recommended clauses for proper evaluation. The progressives are relieved with the new contract and will always wish the best for SE. GR has accepted the challenge of winning the next Afcon and the progressives are backing him to achieve that common goal. The progressives have identified the GK dept as the weakest link in the team and have offered suggestions.
    The progressives are not talking because they know
    “talk is cheap, long stories dont make blockbusters”

  • @larry you can said that again.

  • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

    Hehehehe….see them popping out of their holes one by one like hedgehogs…LMAO I thought someone said “…None of the progressive minds have your time…” after they have lost their voices and been silenced for good.

    Same “progressives” who lied to us that Rohr has never been owed salaries even for one day;
    Same “progressives” who lied to us that Rohr is earning 4 times what our local coaches earned;
    Same “progressives” who lied to us that Rohr is getting ‘preferential treatment’;
    Same “progressives” who lied to us that their African Guadiolas had a better win ratio than Rohr;
    Same “progressives” who lied to us that Rohr has not done anything in 4years and hence does not deserve to continue as coach;
    Same “progressives” who lied to us that Rohr drafted his only employment contract himself and tricked the entire NFF to sign it without reading it, making inputs or having a copy…LMAO;
    Same “progressives” who have been clamouring for the sack of this humble man to be replaced by complete failures paraded to us as Guadiolas;
    Same “progressives” who prefer we not qualify for tournaments than going there to compete and stake a claim for a place on the podium;
    Same “progressives” still continue to lie they were the ones who recommended the clauses in Rohr’s contract after reading about those same clauses on the internet and hearing Pinnick talk about them in the media a thousand times as far back as 6 months ago…(the height of self-deceit)….LMAO
    Same “progressives” who never wanted to see a “white skinned” man on the bench of the SE are now claiming to be his no 1 backers after seeing our prospects of winning the AFCON are becoming brighter….(Success has many parents, failure is an orphan)…Seems they are tired of being on the loosing side…LMAO

    The goalkeeping position is indeed the weakest link in the SE….that is why we have lost a little as 9 out of 49 matches since Rohr took charge. Those who have been manning our goal posts are Mai-guard and vigilante groups…they are not goal keepers. regressives should go and bring their village oracles to man our goal posts to make it the strongest link in the team….they have acclaimed we have the sole custody of the BEST players in Africa.

    Talk is indeed cheap…that is why progressive regressives can swing from the loosing side to the winning side after 4/5 became = 95% for them…LMAO. Anyways they are always welcome to join us on the winning train.

    Talk always becomes expensive when you have just been roundly defeated and your mouth rubbed in the mud. We understand the plight of the “progressives” who are struggling to find their voices this time around….LMAO


  • Prince 4 years ago

    This interview has been out for more than 24 hours and we could all see that the only comments coming thru are from those fans that have a positive mindset, a patriotic and noble plans for the growth and success of the Super Eagles!!!

    The truth be said here!!
    We don’t have to read or witness an interview to see that This Man, Gernot Rohr has a meaningful agenda for the success of our national team.
    He is a German born foreigner but he treats his job and the affairs of the Super Eagles with extreme passion and dedication!!
    This man has only shown that he is a true professional in the running of his job. He has also made me understands that he loves his job, his team and the country he is working for irrespective of the negative “stones” some very few devilish, self-destructive indigenous persons have openly thrown at him!

    It shows how God has blessed us with who we least expect!!!

    Having signed his contract extension, I will support Gernot Rohr again.
    I will always keep him, the staffs and the players in my prayers and I will continue to travel to watch matches if I have cash and time.

    If no one sees the good job he has done so far for us, then such a person is blind!!!

    Gernot Rohr is a tiny light that has kept our soccer house away from total darkness.
    I hope another brighter light in our Minister of Youth And Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare can successfully extend such illumination to the other reputable sports!!!

    Greetings to everyone and please stay safe!!!

  • KING UB 4 years ago

    But wait o!…
    Where are those ACCUSERS OF ROHR???

    What’s that their hypocritical, deceit, devilish and destructive group name sef….
    Whether na RETROGRESSIVE,,, abi na AGGRESSIVE… How do they even call it sef…. Regressive,,, infact; REPROACH MIND….


    Come and find FAULT and ERRORS from ROHR’s speech….

    Fault finders…..

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