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Pass Mark for Super Eagles and Gernot Rohr

Pass Mark for Super Eagles and Gernot Rohr

By Mumini Alao
semi-final 2-1 loss to Algeria last weekend in Egypt, a debate immediately ensued in traditional and social media on whether Gernot Rohr should continue on the job as Super Eagles coach. It was predictable. When a sports team are deemed by Nigerian fans not to have performed up to their expectation, the status of the coach comes under scrutiny.

I could understand the disappointment of those who wanted Rohr to be fired instantly. They love their country so much that they believe only the AFCON trophy was good enough for us. They feel that anything less than that was failure and so Rohr should go immediately. Someone even suggested that team captain Mikel Obi should take over the team in an interim capacity! There’s nothing wrong with big aspirations, but they must be matched with reality.

I decided not to join the debate at that time because I felt it was premature. The third and fourth place classification match against Tunisia was only a few days away. Why not wait for the team to finish the tournament so we could have a full post-mortem?

Yesterday (Wednesday), the classification game was played and the Super Eagles beat Tunisia 1-0 to win their 8th bronze medal at the AFCON, the most by any country. The result kept Nigeria’s record of never having lost a third place match at the competition. And, most importantly for me personally, it gave our debutant young players who formed the bulk of the squad a medal to show for their adventure. I could see the joy written boldly on their faces as they collected those medals. I was clapping for them in my living room all the way. Congratulations, lads.


Now, straight to my verdict: I give the Super Eagles a PASS MARK for their outing in Egypt. And on that basis, I do not support the clamor for Gernot Rohr’s sacking. The least we should grant him is a chance to finish his contract which reportedly has one more year to run. At expiration, we should review again and may then choose to not renew. But for now, Rohr should stay on.

The primary reason for my position is that the coach met the targets set for him by his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF. When he was newly employed, Rohr confirmed to me in an interview that an important clause stated that his contract stands automatically terminated if he failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He delivered on that. Thereafter, the NFF set him another target to qualify for the 2019 AFCON and take the team to the semifinals at least. Again, he has delivered on that and topped it with a bronze medal. The credible thing for Nigeria as a country to do in the circumstance is to keep our side of the bargain. That is what NFF President Amaju Pinnick has done by announcing that Rohr will continue in his job. It is the RIGHT THING to do. I’m in full support.


Apart from achieving his set targets, let’s now consider how Rohr’s Eagles actually performed at the tournament. Recall that I wrote before kick-off that it was pure arrogance on Nigeria’s part to think that we MUST WIN the trophy. I predicted that the Eagles would have to practically “Cross the Red Sea” to win in Egypt because the opposition was daunting while our team wasn’t yet the finished product. I argued that there were at least six other countries with the capacity, talent and pedigree to be champions. Two of them (Algeria and Senegal) are in the final; while four others (Hosts Egypt, holders Cameroun, Morocco and Ghana) all fell by the wayside. On their good day, any of those that fell by the wayside could have reached the final.

Also Read: Pinnick: We Won’t Sack Rohr; Will Get Refresher Training At Bayern As Eagles Coach

With the benefit of hindsight now that we have seen all the teams in action, we should admit that the Super Eagles truly weren’t the overall best team in Egypt. And that admission should temper our disappointment. Our semifinal conquerors Algeria were stronger, they dominated play, created more chances and could have beaten us by a wider margin. In Football, there’s no shame if you lose to a better side. We beat the Algerians during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and now they have beaten us back at the AFCON. We will fight them again another day. The rivalry goes on.

Talking about rivalry, I personally derived great satisfaction from the fact that the Eagles beat our bitter rival Cameroun and “prospective” rival South Africa in the Round of 16 and the quarter-final respectively. Specifically, I had demanded that the Eagles should “Die” on the pitch if that was what it took to beat the Indomitable Lions. Our boys won, stayed alive, kept our bragging rights intact against the mouthy Bafana Bafana, and then went on to win the bronze medal. What more could I ask for? Surely, it would be unfair of me to castigate the boys or join any clamour for the coach to be sacked.

Having declared my support for Rohr to continue in his job, I only wish to add that he could have been more flexible and less predictable with his team selection against Algeria. The Eagles’ attacking strengths on the wings and their defensive frailties in the centre-back positions were obvious in previous matches that it was evident that Algeria came with a plan to take advantage. Perhaps a change of formation would have given Nigeria a greater chance against them. Hopefully, the coach will learn from that.

Going forward, I see a bright future for the Eagles under Gernot Rohr. Some of his critics don’t want to hear this, but the fact is that the coach came after we had failed to qualify for two AFCONs back to back (2015 and 2017). We were down and out but now, he has put us back in contention in African football as third best at the 24-team event.

The main positives from AFCON 2019 for me is the blooding of so many young players like Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Chukwueze, Ola Aina, Jamilu Collins, Alex Iwobi and Oghenekaro Etebo who all played pivotal roles in Egypt. If we’re patient enough for these players to grow and mature in the Super Eagles, a great national team will blossom in the near future.


For now, let’s salute team captain John Obi Mikel who has drawn the curtains on his international career, for his long years of national service at under-20, under-23 and senior, winning medals for us at every level.

And I say congratulations to Odion Ighalo, the AFCON 2019 highest goals scorer and Golden Boot winner-designate with five goals.


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  • Great analysis sir,the thing is this team is in a building process.Players who didn’t match the standards will be dropped for better players in the GK,DF and MF department with Ebuehi,Dennis,Semi ajayi,Azubuike,Ozornwafor coming in.I’m so exciting to see what the future holds under the tutelage of GERNOT ROHR.Wish this team success.
    Till october AFCON Q.

    • What do u expect from a MUMUNI or Munini alao.

      It surely befits your MUMU name.

      We won’t celebrate mediocrity!


      The article is as mumu cious as your name, with respect.

      • After reading, I was forced to go and change the name of the author of this gabage, and I confirmed all I needed to know!

        Like name, like thinking!

      • Praise 5 years ago

        You are such a fool who has no parental upbringing…. Definitely,this is how you talk to your parents at home.well, Never blame you Sha , if u were brought up among human beings, you surely will reason and talk like a human being , but unfortunatelly u grew up in d wilderness where only banished animals who doesn’t know what reasoning is all about . Must you insult an adult? I pray u grow old so that a kid like u will also say the same thing to you when u become an adult so that you’ll reap what you’ve sown .

  • God bless you oga! I’ve once said this; a sane elder would observe issues quite well before judging or any utterance, some elders didn’t and they got what they deserved.

    You’ve said it all and very well said, you’re an honest individual judging from the way you analyzed everything. The future is bright for the Eagles provided no disrupted plans and that’s why Rohr would stay to finish what he has started. He makes mistakes really, but he’s only human and I hope he get all his errors fixed for a better showing next time.

    Omo9ja and Oluwa won’t like this writeup o, lol…. Not everyone can be selfish and be an ingrate like you guys .

    All the very best #Eagles

    • Let open the inner eye and look at d players .wil dey blossom in years to come .?. A look at rufai oliseh okocha ..kanu .taribo. headmaster. Yekini. KeshI amunike. Owo blow .chukwu. odegbami etc wil inform u dat dey wil go distance at 1st cite.even without coach influence. Again u look at Drogba essein wearh at 1st cite can we hope to have big players lik dis in d eagles again.

  • Oakfield 5 years ago

    Claps!!!!! Great article written with objectivity. Can u see the difference BTW an objective article and one written with hate and stupidity like that of the ex cricket player, odegbami??? He (odegbami) should be ashamed of himself.

  • Great article, Mr Odegbami are u learning? Lol

  • Dr. Drey 5 years ago

    “….It was pure arrogance on Nigeria’s part to think that we MUST WIN the trophy. I argued that there were at least six other countries with the capacity, talent and pedigree to be champions. Two of them (Algeria and Senegal) are in the final; while four others (Hosts Egypt, holders Cameroun, Morocco and Ghana) all fell by the wayside…..”
    I cant agree with Oga Mumuni any less.
    We Nigerians have one very laughable arrogance. Any part of the world I go, once i see a Nigerian approaching, I will know he/she is a Nigerian….I will just know. Dont ask me how…dont ask me what traits I see….but it just happens 80% of the time, my guess is always right. But truth be said, we are very loud…very loud and confident, but our kind of confidence is usually that which fluctuates between high level confidence and arrant arrogance.
    I read with amazement severally, especiall from the nay sayers who claimed anything but the trophy would be a failure…and the only question I always asked was on what basis…???
    Are we the ones who have the biggest assemblage of talent…? NO
    Are we the only ones who have players playing in Europe…? NO
    Do our players play in better clubs than the rest…? NO
    Have we committed more resources on our football than the rest..? NO
    Have we been on a more consistent trajectory than the rest….? NO
    Do we have the most experienced group of players than the rest…? NO
    Do we have players who have competed for the AFOTY consistently over the years…? NO
    Do we have the best technical crew on the continent?…..NO
    Are we the highest ranked nation on the fifa log….? NO (as a matter of fact we were 22 places behind 2nd place Tunisia whom we beat to the broze medal)
    So where was the “arrogance” coming from…? Only God knows..!
    In management, goal-setting his encouraged to be SMART
    S- Specific
    M- Measurable
    A- Articulate
    T- Timely

    After not qualifying for 2 consecutive afcon, our football was in the same league with that of the likes of Sudan, Libya, Togo, etc. We were ranked lower than 60th in the world and 14th in Africa while the likes of Egypt, Tunisia, Senegal and DRC remained consistently in the top 3 on the continent over the last 6 years. Our own Onazi couldnt complete his move from lazio to birmingham city before the home office in England would give any player from any country beneath the top 50 in the world a work permit. That was how deep we sank.
    To have now expressly expected we MUST win the 2019 AFCON, just because a certain Gernot Rohr made qualification for tournaments as easy as eating ‘booli and epa’ is quite preposterous. The fact that 87% of the team hadn’t played in the afcon before even made that expectation more superfluous.
    Winning championships most times goes beyond that having the best talents. Otherwise, Brazil should be taking home the World cup every year…and by the way, who is decieving us that we have the most talented squad in this AFCON…? On what basis are they the most talented…??? How many nominations did our players have in the player awards of their various leagues…? How many nominations did they have in club competitons in Europe..? How many nominations have we had in the AFOTY award in the last decade…? How many of them are making headlines of prospective multimillion pound transfers at the moment. Crystal palace has place 80m on Zaha as Arsenal and Totenham are after him… Pepe of Lille has also been slapped with an 80m prize tag. Both are from CIV. The only nigerian player currently in the news in Onyekru…a paltry 14m offer by Napoli. So where did we get that fantasy that we are more talent than even Guinea….not to talk of Senegal and Algeria.
    Bounedja the Algerian no 9 won the world golden boot last season for scoring 51….yes 51 league goals in Qatar. Even our China based players didnt score up to half of that. Mahrez left Leicester city and moved to Man City….our own Kele left Man city and moved to leicester city and may even need to move to a ‘lesser city’ to regain his mojo now. Similarly our Ahmed Musa moved from the same Leicester city to Saudi Arabia. So what is it that makes us think we were the most talented team in Afcon.

    We need to stop fooling ourselves, drop our arrogance and start setting SMART goals and not overzelous ones. A broze was a realistic target for us at this time and we got it…..It wll be sensible for us to set a target of the Trophy for 2021…but we have to articulate our plans towards 2021…we need metrics that will keep us in check and help us measure our progress. Even when some evil people were predicting doom for the SE before AFCON, I knew we would end up with a medal…though i didn’t know which color…why….our team has remains hard to defeat by most African opposition (Just one was successful before afcon and that was due to complacency), So I knew that if we weren’t complacent, we weren’t gonna loose more than 1 match. And it almost happened that way. Let forget about the loss to Madagascar…..that was plain complacency at play. Bring on the same Madagascar team now and they would even have a shot at goal the whole match, I can guarantee that.
    2021 would also be timely, because this team would have reached a 4 year cycle that it always takes teams to mature, they would have had major tournament experience and would have learnt wat it takes to reach the latter stages of such tournaments as well as deliver when it matters most. For me…inability to manage the game against algeria was our undoing. Proper game management would have at least dragged that game into extratime….and just like in the game against CIV, algeria would have been more vulnerable by then.
    2021 would be realistic, because most of our current 20 something years olds who form the bulk of the team would by then be approaching their peaks, would have played 2 tournaments together and would have played a whole lot of games together…..if and only if, we dont have a change of guard in the technical crew. Trust me this team is work in progress. Any well meaning observer will see that the performance graph of this team has been in the upward trajectory for about 2 years now. We only need to sustain the momentum…beef up the weak areas….create more competition in the team and expect the expected….if it then doesnt happen, then I will be the first to raise a motion for the termination of the contract of the manager.
    But for now……the eagles have done well and get a high pass from me. If in a tournament where you were expected to play 7 games, you did play 7 games and scored a 71% win ratio…you deserve commendation and not condemnation.

  • Sunnyb 5 years ago

    @oakfield what’s really wrong with you guys must you insult Odegbami because you disagrees with him.Exactly what Soyinka said about Nigerians youths the other day, you guys needs to stop insulting people on social media. 

    • Oakfield 5 years ago

      @sunnyb, he deserves every atom of insult he can ever get in his life. Look here, that man is as wicked as Hitler. Our loss to Algeria could be attributed to that nonsense piece of shit of an article he published on the eve of a very important match which eventually caused some distractions. Football has a lot to do with psychology and I believe Most of those players (including the coaching crew) might have read that piece of shit which eventually weakened them psychologically. It’s sounds funny though but it could be one of the contributory factors that led to our loss to Algeria. He has lost the high regard most of us had for him bcs of his evil heart full of hate.

      • Simon 5 years ago

        Oga you are speaking for yourself because millions of people still respect the great sege

        • Oakfield 5 years ago

          Thank goodness I’m not one of them and thank goodness I never mentioned ur name@Simon, hence, pipe low. No doubt, u are one of his kangaroos that says “thank you sir” when he gives u shit to eat.


    To say the least, this is the most foolish article I have ever read from CSN.

    Mediocrity gone over board.

    Can u imagine?

    I know u were paid to write this though, as the usual corrupt spirit of the black man is.

    But know this that not every Nigerian is as foolish and technically stagnant as u and your crusaders are.

    The Nigerian team deserves more than Rohr.

    A team full of raw talent clearly under utilised by the old neophyte called Rohr.

    A coach that lacks the basic knowledge of team selection.

    Its so sad! Has every one suddenly turned totally blind and dumb?

    Why can’t nobody see the reality of Rohr’s ineptitude?

    It’s so glaring that a young articulate football fanatic can tell there is something wrong with the technical crew of the team.

    It is sad!

    NFF intend to waste tax payers money for an old, anachronistic patterned coach who does not model the present day footballing realities.

    Who does that?

    Omg! Can some one speak out?

    When u talk they say u either sound disrespectful Or make destructive criticism.

    Oh we should sit back and watch a civil servant on appointment for a specific term, so to speak, to ruin the country’s peace and joy? And say nothing!?

    If u can’t handle criticism please sit in your house and do not handle any public responsibility that will demand u to make accountability of stewardship.

    This is so sad!

    My advice is this, watch Guodiola, Klopp, Zidane, and Pochettino in their coaching approach on team selection, formation, technical abilities, dishing out information and instruction etc and compare with your ROHR.

    If you then further see nothing wrong with Rohr, then I will be relaxed and know your case is different; and that you are not only lost in self delusion or deceit but that u may likely and urgently need a psychiatrist.

    A coach who has a backward mentality and celebrate mediocrity.

    A coach who to him winning bronze medal is a great feat?

    A coach who keeps giving excuses of a young team and so on when he fails?

    A coach who thought the Algerians were tired until they scored a goal to knock out the supposed champions?

    A coach who lacks d little details of substituting an attacker for a defensive minded player at the world cup?

    A coach who sabotaged the joy of the nation against Argentina?

    A coach who believes Akpeyi is the best keeper in Nigeria?

    A coach who preferred to play chukwueze in the bench, but for the plenty shouts from fans alike?

    A coach who lacks motivation and cannot give instructions when it was needed the most?

    A white skin with a dark mindset?

    Can westerhof, Bonfree Jo, morihno, and other coaches around the word who also belived, and very truly, Rohr is finished, be all Wrong, since we advocating for his dismissal are wrong and perhaps disrespectful?

    NFF kotinue! But know that deris God.
    U hear, deris God!.

  • Sunnyb 5 years ago

    Bro, chill, the Afcon  is over we need to sit down and reassess this team from the coaching crew to the players. We can’t blame Odegbami for the below performance of Iwobi and Musa, or onyekuru coming in for Chukwueze, at the time  we needed midfielders bro we practically went to this Afcon with no attacking midfielders no goalkeepers. This team needs re enforcement, we need more ballers, players with guts and  fighting spirits , see bro,we conceded too many cheap goals, three from set pieces two own goals, We can’t blame Odegbami or other critics for those cheap goals we conceded.lets beef up this team look for someone to compliment Ndidi and etebo, we definitely need a new skipper who would provide a better leadership..Pls bro Odegbami is one of our national treasure unlike those useless treasury looters.The man only stated his opinion we don’t have to agree with him.So my brother Biko.

    • Thank u sunny!

      Some pipo are just blind!

      Corruption speaking!

      Why won’t dey see nothing wrong when them don chop money.

      • Danurch 5 years ago

        Odegbamis opinions are destructive. He should be wiser enough to give constructive opinions that could help build the team and not deliberate destructive opinions informed by jealousy. No one says he has no right to criticise and offer opinionated solutions. His opinions are those of a wicked enemy of progress. Brutus.

  • @Oakfield and Iszy, pls grow up. Your comments are childish and unnecessary insulting at times.

  • @sunnyb must you always criticised iwobi in your write up? Let the truth be told Odegbami goofed simple and you can see maturity from Mr mumini write up. His comments was nothing but hatred and racist on the head coach. Can’t you see that the comment did not in any way help Nigeria in that competition.

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