By Johnny Edward: Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation has handed his team a semi-final target at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but he describes it as ‘excessive’, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Super Eagles’ best finish at the FIFA World Cup so far is Second Round which the team achieved thrice, at USA 1994, France 1998 and Brazil 2014.
Rohr who led the Super Eagles to qualify for their sixth World Cup appearance from a tough African qualifying Group B with a game to spare, was quick to state that the dream of the top brass in the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is a bit excessive.
The Super Eagles recorded 13 points from five games with their closest rival, Zambia amassing seven points from the same number of games.
“We will try to do well in Russia. Unfortunately, the ambitions are a little excessive,” Rohr told French daily, L’Équipe in an interview.
“The team must get at least to the semi-finals. We have the ambition of the leaders to manage, even if I get along very well with the president (Amaju Pinnick), who came to get me (for employment), it’s never easy. But for now, it’s going very well.
“It’s a new challenge, a new adventure that’s coming. Participating in the most important tournament in the world, with the best teams, is something every player and coach dream about. To live that (dream) is already an achievement, even if it does not mean that we will reach the end. It’s a dedication for me who has been leading national teams for many years.
“I had already done some interesting things, African Cups for example, but really, qualifying Nigeria for the World Cup is a plus. It gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction of course.”
The Franco German tactician also revealed that the President of the Nigerian Football Federation NFF Amaju Pinnick has promised to extend his contract by two years.
Rohr’s two-year deal with the NFF runs out in July 31, 2018.
“The President (Pinnick) has already told me before the World Cup that it (the contract) will be extended by two years, whatever the results in Russia,” the former Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso coach told L’Équipe.
Rohr also advised the NFF to sort out the World Cup qualification bonus before the tournament in Russia.
Rohr warned on Monday of the possible negative impact on the performance of his team at the 2018 World Cup, which distracted Stephen Keshi’s team at 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Recall that during the 2014 World Cup , the Super Eagles refused to train ahead of their Second Round clash against France, to protest against the non-payment of a qualifying bonus.
Nigeria will receive a bonus of $12.5 million (€ 10.6 million) from FIFA for qualifying for the World Cup, a sum that the 37 players who took part in the play-offs should share.
“The question of bonuses and allowances, which is often a problem for African teams during the World Cup, should be avoided. Such a debate would be detrimental to our preparation,” Rohr added.
“I told the officials and the president of the Federation that all these issues had to be decided before the start of the competition.”