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Rohr: How I Selected My 30-Man World Cup Squad; Why Nwakali Missed Out

Rohr: How I Selected My 30-Man World Cup Squad; Why Nwakali Missed Out

By Kayode Ogundare in Uyo:

Coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria Gernot Rohr has explained how he came about his provisional 30-man squd for the World Cup and also revealed why teenage sensation Kelechi Nwakali was not included.

“It (the list) was not of my own making alone. I have backroom staff, including the medical team and I gathered all of them in my house. We looked at the players one by one and asked what qualities they have, and how they will complement the other players,” Rohr explained during a media briefing in Uyo on Friday.

“Of course I looked first at the players who were with us for the qualifiers but then I also looked at other players who have done well for their clubs. That’s why you see players like Junior Lokosa who is doing very well in the Nigerian league and Simy Nwakwo who had an excellent season in Italy.”

The German-born coach also revealed why Nwakali was not in the squad. Football fans had queried why the former Golden Eaglet star was not included, particularly after he put up a five-star performance against Atletico Madrid in last Tueday’s friendly international.

Rohr said: “Nwakali is a good player. I knew him before now and he was in my list of 35 players. We had a team of 50 players which we pruned down to 35 and then 30. By the time he played against Atletico, we had already submitted the 30-man list on May 14 and the game against Atletico was on May 22 so it was too late to include him. He’s in my plans and definitely he will be invited after the World Cup.”

Rorh also hinted that new invitees Lokosa and Nwakwo will get the chance to prove their mettle in Monday’s friendly international against Congo DR in Port Harcourt.

“We will see them on Monday and hopefully they will make a case for their inclusion with their performance against Congo DR and even if they don’t get to be selected, they would have learnt valuable lessons from training with the team. But I have been impressed so far with their performances,” he said.

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  • Abdulrazak 3 years ago

    Atleti’s line up vs Marseille in last week’s UEFA Europa Cup final
    Just for the attention of all those ‘experts’ howling for the inclusion of certain players who featured in our selected side vs Atleti’s recreation side.
    Its best left to the ‘experts’ imagination as to what would have happened if same Atleti’s starting xi had come up against our B team.

    • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

      Oblak, Corrrea, Gabi played against Nigeria. Juanfran, Torres and Partey are also legitimate starters during the course of the season. That’s over half of their potentials 11. Other players that played against us are also squad members who have seen substantial minutes in Laliga. The fact that the coach acknowledges the talents of the kid is heartwarming. Obviously, he won’t make the WorldCup squad, but him and his Brother Chidiebere along with Musa and Usman Mohammed should be part of the nation’s cup plans. And if possible train with the team now to pick up valuable experience. I will even prefer they’re called up for the game against DRC along with the 7 that will be chopped before the team head to England.

      • EU Man 3 years ago

        I wish to say it is not true that it is too late to include Kelechi Nwakali in the Super Eagles Squad for Russia 2018. Fifa rules allows inclusion and withdrawal until 24hrs before commencement of world cup. Again,if it is true that Kelechi Nwakali was included in the initial 35 man list, how come Gernot Rohr and his staff will remove him from the list and retain those that are less capable. This implies that something is wrong somewhere. The less capable people were chosen to represent Nigeria and the more capable ones were dropped. The selection process was therefore wrongfully influenced by some unscrupulous persons and Gernot Rohr of NFF are yet to tell us the truth. Finally, I repeat, it is not too late to include a player as to date. Why is Gernot Rohr not being truthful as to the deadline date to include or replace a player is very questionable.

        • @EU MAN,You are the one that dont know what the rules know.firstly, it is your opinion that those left in the 30man list are less capable.As for our coach, who I must say, takes the blame if we don’t perform, has chosen his team. When you are employed in future by Nigeria to beher coach, you make your own decisions.you talked about the names not being late to be added and removed. Well you are wrong.you can’t change the list now.you can only substitute from the final 23 if any of them has injury,one of the remaining 7 will be called up.check FIFA website.Don’t start pointing accusing fingers without facts.thank you

  • Bomboy 3 years ago

    Carry on Mr. Rohr! You know what you are doing! Don’t be distracted by the 150 million fans turned coaches in Nigeria!

  • Just read between the lines and you may just see that this article and the need for coach Rohr to come out and justify his squad selection is, at least in part, due to the distractions caused by the yells to add new players to the squad – for whatever objective – in the wake of the friendly against atletico Madrid.

    I personally don’t think this, or any coach, should come out in public to justify his selection. He is employed to do a job and we have to trust his judgement and leave him to get on with it.

    I may not agree with some of the players he has selected but that is my problem! If I don’t like it, tough!

    I have heard sharp criticism amongst my friends and fellow (wonderful) fans about players like Mikel Agu and I think some of these criticisms are misplaced.

    To be continued….

  • Part 2

    Mikel Agu: A professional destructive defensive midfielder who you can call on to do the dirty work and rattle opposing players to force them into mistakes and disrupt their flow. It only took 5 minutes into his introduction against Zambia on the 07th of October 2017 for him to make his presence known by upsetting their rhythm and unfortunately earning a yellow card for his troubles.

    Whereby other players like Kelechi Nwakali needed national team u-17 exposure and validation of local coaches to earn a breakthrough in European leagues, all Mikel Agu needed was a mere relatively unknown coca-cola tournament for scouts to spot his immense skills and to attract interest from a big European club in Christiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

    He has since developed and honed key aspects of his game including, but not limited to: Ball winning, timely tackles, short passing distribution and crucial interceptions and excellent close control.

    He is so good that he was likened to the great midfield marshal himself John Mikel Obi, hence the origin of his ‘Mikel’ nickname.

    He may not have been spectacular but he has been adequate in the matches I have seen him play for Nigeria thus far.

    So, in my view, if Mikel Agu, Lakosa, Uche Agbo etc are good enough for Gernot Rohr, they are good enough for me.

  • Edoman of New Jersey, USA. 3 years ago

    We all should leave the National Couch to do his work. He is a pro, and wildly respected as such. l appreciates his condor for letting us into his working room and reviled the methodology he applied in arriving to his conclusions. My friends, the World is taking Notice of what this Couch is doing. One of the U.K. influential Newspapers recently placed this Nigerian Team, which this Couch is managing, as number 10 to win the World cup. It is not only the Nigeria Fans that are watching the supper Eagle but, others are taking notice too. In Rohr we trust for now.

  • Chidi 3 years ago

    Hy guys what’s up? Wel wel let this issue of kel nwakili inclusion rest ooo kele is a good player  but at d moment he is not ripe for 2018 worldcup mayb 2022 (can he stand d combative midfield of d Croatians (modric,raketic n co ) capital NO,as for GR do u think d worldcup is more important to u d fans than him?NO going to Russia is a life time opportunity that is hard to come by n if he performs well he might have another one,during d qualification series he was asked what to expect about d Cameroonian match n he said all he needed was 4point n he got it,months back after d grouping he was asked about his expectations he said by the time we play Argentina we will seal our passage to d second round,guys lets giv him d benefit of doubt n support him he is a clever dude n knows how to get what he wants,trust me he knows our worldcup opponents better than us the fans,n my candid advice to SE fans out there is not to expect much from our darling SE (but if AP will be retained as nff boss n GR giving a long term contract by 2022 we will b expecting SE to get to d last  or bring d cup to Africa,we don’t expect GR to build a worldcup winning team in just a short time common guys we r talking about the worldcup ooo no be beans ooo we all know how long it took westerhof to builg d Eagles that dominated Africa for a decade let’s be honest with our way of thinking n pray for the team n stop all dis unnecessary distraction we d fans r creating thank u

  • Victor Onyeanum 3 years ago

    Thank you , Chidi. You are spot on, and you contribution here should be our blue print or template. Let us learn how to respect and support the coach’s decisions.

  • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

    Lokosa will most definitely not make the final 23. He’s just there to gather some experience. The gaffer himself have said it. Agbo and Agu unless if any of Mikel, Ndidi, Obi, Etebo, Ogu and Onazi are not fit for the WorldCup I don’t see either of them in the final 23. Simy Nwankwo is likely to dislodge one of the strikers depending on his performance against DRC.

    I can still understand Agbo to some extent because he has never really played any competitive game to ascertain his level playability. He has mostly been a training material. But he made John Obuhs team in 2013 to the U20 WorldCup where Agu was spectacular dropped after failing to live up to expectation. He was also unbelievably dropped by SiaOne because he could not adapt to another role in the team enroute to the Olympics. He came in for Onazi against Zambia and his first contribution was to receive a yellow card.

    Against Cameroon in Yaounde he came in for Mikel and the Midfield collapse with immediate effect. Like I said it doesn’t take more than one game to identify a true talent. That he was incredibly benched by the SuperEagles right back for the most part since mid season at club level diminished his level of talent big time. I’m sure the only reason he made the cut ahead of Kelechi who was in the initial 35 man list was because he’s a little older or experienced. In terms of talents Kelechi Nwakali is better than Agu in all ramifications.

    • I don’t think Simy stands any chance of displacing any striker. In the midfield I have a feeling that Agbo will make it ahead of Joel; I may be wrong but the coach seems to like the fact that Agbo can step in as a defender. In fact, those out r: Ajiboye, Eze, Aina/Tyrone, Agu, Joel/Agbo, Lakosa and Simy.

      • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

        Yes we shall see. Whoever makes the team on merit will be supported. If Joel Obi is fit. Onazi, Ogu, Agbo, Ogu are way behind him in terms of experience and the standard of the league he plays at. He plays for Torino that’s some club you know.

  • Sunnyb 3 years ago

    Ur types are main reasons why Nigeria is now a failed state, promoting mediocrity, Rohr would loose in Russia, and the same jokers supporting him now would demand for is head. Saying Nwakali is not ready for 2018,but nwobi,Iheanacho, Agbo, Agu, Ogu, are ready. Don’t worry guys in few days fowl yansh go open.

  • anybody with negative mind sud pls leave dis house cos no Tim to check Tim. u guys (bad whicher ) sud wait for us after d tournament. SURE BET, EITHER WE FAIL OR PASS 1-team, 1-goal,1-nation……. Go Super Eagles…… THE WINGS OF AFRICA…… surport d comon goal brother!!!!!!

  • Greenturf 3 years ago

    Kelechi Nwakali Chidiebere Nwakali Usman Mohammed and Musa Mohammed are good players but must improve at club level next season to have a chance with the team.
    One friendly match against a weakened European team is not enough justification to break the world cup squad to include this players.
    This players are relatively young and lacked the experience to play at a very high level.Rohr is a German and understands the intensity of a tournament like the world cup besides he already has his team in mind.He has built a unit and wouldn’t disrupt that unit at least not now .
    I saw the friendly.Kelechi Nwakali played well but not fantastic. Those that played much better are Usman and Chidiebere. I don’t look at goals rather overall performance.
    We should trust the coaches judgement. Most of us would turn against the coach if he picks this boys you clamouring for and they disappoint so please don’t distract this world cup programme rather you should support the better players picked as we look forward to a successful tournament.

    • Gboyega 3 years ago

      @greenturf… You have spoken like a real fan that understands football. If talent was enough to make a team the Omidiji Jrn should be included and every other tom dick and harry that plays. There’s something called future prospects, its not everything in your arsenal that you unleash on the first day of war… Like u said he was good but not fantastic. If Jesus taries he’ll get his fair share of playing time. We are solidly behind d SE of naija, the wings of African pride

  • I remember when Mikel Agu was on loan with Vitoria Setubal in the portugese liga and had an outstanding season prompting most fans to clamour for his invitation to the national team..now most of those condemning him now used super adjectives to qualify him then..it will surprise many that Agu will make this world cup team..despite the call by Nigerians that Rohr should ignore him he has been a consistent feature on the list of invited players by Rohr meaning the gaffer who is in charge sees something in him and also has a belief in him.The first thing a player needs to be part of a team is to earn the trust of his coach, as long as Agu keeps getting this I am almost certain that Ndubuisi Agu will be on the plane to Russia

    • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

      If he’s that good why did he never made the cut at every age grade level he was called up for? Why was he benched by Shehu who is the SuperEagles right back? Yes he’s ok by his standard, but needing endless games to convince majority of the fans is absolutely not good enough for me. That can be good enough for some, but definitely not for me. If he makes the team on merit I will support him wholeheartedly.

  • Mike Chuks 3 years ago

    Ighalo is the only point striker in the list, let’s see what he can offer against CongoDR, I see him making the cut, for me those out will be:1 keeper(Akpeyi), 2 defenders(Eze,Echiejile), 3 midfielders(Joel, Agu, Agbo), 1 attacker (Lokosa)
    The Nwakali’s and Musa Mohamed are players for the future.

  • Ayandeko Rasheed 3 years ago

    I just want to wish the super eagle of Nigeria going to Russia the very best of luck. God bless Nigeria

  • Chidi 3 years ago

    At  sunnyb pls bro we only have one country we can call our own n its Nigeria,(point of correction not a failed state despite its ups n downs be rest assured dat it can only get better,proud 9ja dude) still on d matter nobody is desputing d. Fact dat nwakiali is a good player,but let’s see it this way he did not play d qualifying series SE midfield already has a fine chemistry dat needs not to b disrupted,not playing in d top five leagues in Europe can’t even stamp his presence at vv venlo a modest club at erisdevise b4 he was shipped to mvv mastriatch,do u think if he is dat exceptional  asernal couldnt facilitate his work permit quickly with d special talent appeal like man city did with iheanacho how long did it take leciester city to tidy up ndidi work permit?in a nutshell kel is a sure candidiate 4 2022 worldcup if he keeps his head cool or do u think he is better than Samuel chukwueze d Villarreal prodigy my guy 9ja is blessed country n all ramification so let’s sit back n enjoy d fun dat comes with worldcup 4yrs is too far abeg

  • All i have to say is that Nigeria is bless by god all manager g, rhor ,selection is not bad,9jA IS GOOd to go
    wish them gud luck