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NFF: Why Gernot Rohr Is Interested In Enyeama

NFF: Why Gernot Rohr Is Interested In Enyeama

By Kayode Ogundare:

Toyin Ibitoye is the Media Officer of the Super Eagles of Nigeria which is in Krasnodar, Russia preparing for Tuesday evening’s friendly international against Argentina as part of the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


Ibitoye was live from Russia to lagos-based Channels Television station to speak about issues surrounding the national team, last Friday’s World Cup qualifiers against Algeria among others.

Completesportsnigeria.com brings you excerpts of the interview…

Zenith Ziva

How’s the mood in camp for the game against Argentina?

The Argentina game is a way of starting our preparation for the World Cup. Our boys are in high spirits. We are missing some key players but that won’t stop us from playing a good game. It offers us the chance to look at options that we have in case of withdrawals ahead of the World Cup owing to injuries or loss of form.

Don’t you think playing such a high-profile game at this stage of the team’s preparations can be counter-productive?

We are happy to play this kind of high profile game very early in our preparations to show us where we are lacking and need to strengthen our squad so that we can present a strong team that will make Nigeria proud next year at the World Cup.


Can you let us in into who and who would be playing on Tuesday?

The starting line-up will be out a few hours to the game but the coach has already hinted that he would be making changes to the team that faced Algeria because the essence of the game is for us to try out as many players as we can to see what our options are. The coaches will decide what the changes will be between this morning and a few hours to the game tomorrow evening.

Don’t you think there’s a danger in playing Argentina now when the possibility exists that we could be meeting them when the draws are made? Won’t that mean that they would have knowledge of our strength and weakness and use that against us?

The draws have not been done yet so there’s nothing wrong with playing Argentina. If we say we should be scared that the Argentines would have better knowledge of our team in case we meet them at the World Cup, then it works both ways. They should also be scared that Nigeria would have better knowledge of their team too. We should not be too worried about that but we should look at the benefits of playing a team like Argentina. They have pedigree as former World Cup winners, losing finalists at the last edition and they have arguably the best player in the world in Lionel Messi. So, frankly, I think we stand to benefit more from playing them than they would from playing us.
We should thank our Match Agent Jairo Pachon for being able to get us this high profile game because, if you look at the FIFA window for friendly games, we don’t have too many between now and the World Cup so we should make use of all the opportunities we can get to strengthen our team and be ready to face the best 31 teams from across the World.

Let’s go back to the Algeria match. The officiating was not top-notch and one would feel the referee was acting a script with that penalty and the other decisions that he failed to give in our favour?

It’s very tricky when you talk about the referee’s decision and all of that. That referee, Eric Otogo-Castane, is easily one of Africa’s best and had an excellent game in my opinion until that moment when he gave that penalty in the dying minutes of the game. Unfortunately, that one call made a mess of the good work he had done all through the game but it doesn’t make him a bad referee all of a sudden. I think it was just an error of judgement on his part. It’s one of those things that happen once in a while in the course of games. We thought we had done enough to win the game but the referee thought otherwise. Things like this happen everytime. Sometimes it could be to your favour and sometimes it could work against you. Fortunately the game was inconsequential as we’d already won the WC ticket. It was just a test game to see a couple of new players in a competitive game. We have moved on from that and we are now looking towards the next game against Argentina.


Will there be other high-profile friendly games apart from Argentina?

Sure. We are looking at the possibility of using the FIFA window in March to play another grade one friendly. NFF President Amaju Pinick, a member of the CAF Emergency Committee raised the possibility of moving AFCON qualifiers from March so that World Cup bound teams could use the window to perfect their preparations. His argument was that since the AFCON is in 2019, there’s no harm in shifting the qualifiers till after the World Cup in July. This is a brilliant suggestion and, for me, one of the gains of having him in CAF at that level. His suggestion will be tabled at the CAF Executive Committee meeting very soon and we hope they approve it so that we can play a friendly match in March. After that we have to wait till the end of the season in May to get the team together again. I think it will be a smart move if CAF can adopt Pinick’s recommendation on using the March window for World Cup preparations instead of playing AFCON qualifiers for a tournament that will be held in 2019. No doubt we’ll have friendly games and we will seek to use all available opportunities to improve the team.
If you must do well at the World Cup then you must prepare well and to prepare well, you must play the best teams. Argentina is one of the very best.

The coach has said the bulk of his team will be from the squad that won the WC ticket but are we considering players who were not involved in the qualifiers but who have something to offer?

I don’t want us to misunderstand the coach so maybe I should give you the context in which he’s talking. The coach has not ruled out any player who can improve this team going forward to the World Cup. If there’s any player that’s better than the ones we already have in the team, I’m sure the coach is willing to give them the chance to come and prove their mettle. He’s not ruled out anyone. The World Cup is still a long time away and we hope some new player will step up and have the required quality to be in the team. The team spots are still up for grabs and everybody must justify their inclusion.

Is the coach also considering recalling Vincent Enyeama?

As for Vincent Enyeama, his issue has been on for a long while and coach Gernot Rohr has made it very clear that he’s open to Vincent’s return if he rescinds his decision to quit the team and makes himself available for selection. He’s presently injured and in rehabilitation but gradually getting back into shape. If he gets back and finds a club, plays regularly for his club and makes himself available for selection, then he would be invited. We all know Vincent and his pedigree. He’s world class, one of Africa’s best, has experience from three World Cup tournaments and has won Man of the Match awards in World Cup games. So if he’s available, I’m sure the coach will be amenable to inviting him for the World Cup party. All of these is dependent on Vincent rescinding his decision to quit international football. For someone who’s had 100 caps for Nigeria, I’m not sure you can shut the door of the national team on a player like that if he’s available and willing to play.

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  • I want him back

    • The national team needs Enyama as our no 1 goal keeper for the world cup

  • I need Enyeama back pleasssss!

  • We don’t need him.. He should go

  • Ezenwa is not good enough for World Cup look how he was shaking on Friday

  • we dnt rily nid him though

  • Please o, b4 d Algerian tie on friday i was arguing dat Enyeama to be left out but seeing Ezenwa’s cluelessness i am pleading that Enyeama be brot back abeg.

  • If Nigeria will make an impact in the World Cup then all they need to do is bring back Vincent Enyeama

  • The coach has the final say. Her needs to get a club and start playing. No matter how small the club. He needs playing time

  • We qualified without Enyeama, so why the clamour for him now? Ezenwa should be allowed to learn on the job, he will get better with time. Every goalkeeper has their down-time, including Enyeama. Moreover we qualified unbeaten, and I hate it when people are projected to reap where they did not sow.

    • oga, we need Enyeama, period!

    • You r bringing in sentiment. Football does not go with sentiment. Once you are good,then you are good.

    • Boss are u a Nigerian,if u are 1 den u wud have understood d importance of d clamour for Vincent enyeama

    • Sir, please we need Enyeama. Except if it is certain that Karl Ikeme will be fit and strong for the tournament. Ezenwa cannot do World Cup job please. Don’t be sentimental

    • Have you all forgotten that it was Carl Ikeme that started the qualifiers for Nigeria?

    • Baba assuming you watch Algeria Vs Nigeria match you shouldn’t have said what you just commented. Enyemma must earn a recall

    • Papa J 4 years ago

      Bro. This is outright sentiment,at this stage in our football we should be able to go beyond 2nd round in Russia. How many world class strikers were in our group during WCQ? Can ezenwa cope with the strike force of European players not even talking of crazy south American who will shoot at your net from any quarters. Please let’s be realistic to ourselves world cup isn’t for experiments. Teams go with their best Nigeria shouldn’t be an exception.

      • Chibyke 4 years ago

        True talk bro. We don’t need to manage goal keeper at the world cup.if we do, our goal post will turn to basketball net. We need enyeama back.

  • Let him come and Mikel remains our Captain

    • OLUSOJI AB FELIX 4 years ago

      I dont think, say you go work for somebody another person go come chop am.

  • Jock apart ,Ezenwa is good but he lacks experience,the area balls in his yard is not clinically pick i suppor Enyeana to be invited ,what we are going is ward cup.

  • Enyeama Is very relevant Ezenwa can benefit from his wealth of experience and maybe in the future he can make a name for himself as no. 1. I do hate for Ezenwa to venture to the 2018 World Cup only to get intimidated by World Stars..MOT

    • Soccer boy 4 years ago

      True talk bro. It won’t be small intimidation. And once your opponent noticed that you don’t have good goal keeper they will be shooting from any angle cus they know one must enter net.

  • I will support the recall of Enyeama on the condition that his recall will guarantee us world Cup otherwise we should allow the Ezenwa boy learn on the job. Was Enyeama born with experience? Besides there is a goalkeeper coach with the team let him work on Ezenwa.

    • Ezenwa is not a young guy like Uzoho that we can allow to be learning, further more national team is not meant to be training a first or even 2nd choice goalkeepers.

  • President Buhari please don’t release fund to super eagles if Enyeama Vincent is not recalled.

  • We need Vincent Enyeama back.

  • Let him fight for the No 1 shirt.

  • But he is not fit again. I learnt that he has not keep for a long time now for his club.

  • Who says World Cup is a tournament to train/learn. We need to change our mindset that we can never win the World Cup. Therefore, I support recalling of Enyeama. We need him.

  • No all he will do is to go and shake hands with Messi after loosing out of the group stage

  • olushola 4 years ago

    enyeama is far better to be sincere, else Nigeria will be disgraced.

  • Femi FORTUNE-IDOWU 4 years ago

    Lets no deceive ourselves, Enyeama is needed for the World Cup. World cup is not for the boys but for real men. You dont make yourself opened to mistakes at the world cup, you go with all your best.

  • V.Enyeama should be recalled to super eagles

  • football require a Number of experience not performance as some pple think, to me, I want enyeama to return to WC clash of next year, beside Ezenwa must also go with them, because of unexpected injury, but enyaema must come for better performance

  • I want Carl Ikeme back for the super eagles, he started the qualifying games for Nigeria. I pray He gets well soon. Better goal keeper

  • If u read this news well..there’s no time…some are saying we should hook up with ezenwa that with time, he’ll gather experience… @ 29? We are not talking about Uzoho,Alampasu..we are talking about a 29 year old Nigerian! Abeg call enyeama back..he’s too short, can’t pick crosses, doesn’t serve well with his kicks, the handling is poor @29?…..Second base jare!

    • Ayphillydegreat 4 years ago

      LMAO! A 29 year old Nigerian! The future is Uzoho and Alampasu. Ezenwa to me has played himself out of the WorldCup with that abysmal performance on Friday. We definitely need the great Vincent back at least for one last time. Even at retirement and injured he remains Africa’s best goalkeeper.

  • OLUSOJI AB FELIX 4 years ago

    In 1994 with all our best players we eliminated 2nd round, France 1998 with all our best eliminated at group Stage, 2002 with all the fresh legs and experience 2nd round 2006 no show 2010 with all the Aiyegbenis of this world including vincent Enyeama’s of this world, Group stage (i believe) 2014 with our experience and good players 2nd round. So where is Enyeama during the qualifiers, it show that nobody is bigger than a country. If we can get a better player (keeper) outside enyeama I think the coach should look into it. Come to talk about Ezenwa, how many goals have he conceded during the qualifier apart from the Penalty Cameroon and Algeria. To me he has gone well so far as a goalkeeper.

  • Tony Iloka 4 years ago

    If I am Rohr, my 3 goal keepers would be: ENYEAMA, AIYENUGBA AND EZENWA

  • The truth has to be told…… ..enyeama is highly need in that super eagle team #my opinion coz I may not speak ur mind

  • Charles 4 years ago

    Someone that can’t even serve a ball and yo want him to mount the post God Forbid that guy no worth super eagles what happened to dele Ajiboye

  • After watching the shaky display of Ezenwa against Algeria, it’s now apparent that Enyeama has to come back. He’s had his knee surgery, he is back to training. We’ve got time on our side – six months to the WC.

    Rohr has been saying all along that Enyeama is our number 1 keeper. I now appreciate that Rohr has seen what the rest of us have failed to see. Come on, let’s respect our coach’s opinion – Enyeama should be back, otherwise we would have a leaky backside (no intent to be rude) in Russia 2018

  • Enyama is more experienced thou he had his days of little beginning I think ezenwa should be given a chance since no gonna win the World Cup

  • We need the guy in word cup

  • hahahahaha bring Enteama back or go to word cup with out a goal keeper just live the goal pose open because Ezawa can’t keep Nigeria for word cup you should do everything possible to bring Enteama back

  • Gernot Rohr is a proffesional and honest, we should allow the man do his job. when i said after WAFU final that we have no world cup Goalie ,many fans almost chop my neck off.
    today they have changed their language, we were just lucky to pick a draw in Algeria and today in Russia first half v Agentina we all watch the Goal keepers mess.

  • Where is Goalkeeper Dele Alampasu? Is he not better than Akpaenyi?

  • roland ashebeta 4 years ago

    Our Super Eagles have seen the need of being at their best because they are more committed to every single against any opponent. I really wanna appreciate Gernot Rohr for his forbearance with our team and management. May God Almighty support him to live to achieve the Impossible. I believe in Miracle and this is what we’re expressing from our dear team well I don’t know how you feel but am very proud of them come sun & rain and they will deliver. Am your humble comrade Roland Ashebeta (Robanty4real) from Ikotun constituency, Lagos State.

  • Enyeama presence will give more confidence to the selected players for the world cup.I think each country comes with her best players.So,Nigeria must follow the same trend bcos world cup match is not a child play