Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has admitted that it was tough convincing the duo of Victor Moses and captain Mikel Obi to switch their roles prior to the Russia 2018 World Cup game against Iceland on Friday.
Rohr switched to a 3-5-2 formation from 4-3-3 as Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 to earn their first win at the tournament. Ahmed Musa’s second half brace secured victory for the Super Eagles.
Mikel Obi – often played as a No.10 for the Super Eagles – was deployed as a defensive midfielder alongside Wilfred Ndidi while Victor Moses was drafted to the wing-back role.
“We changed our organisation, we played 3-5-2, and Moses played where he played for Chelsea, the captain [Mikel] coming back into the position he has in China,” Rohr explained to reporters.
“I had to speak with the players because in two years we played with Mikel as an offensive midfielder and Moses like a striker.
“If you change something, you have to get the players to accept, with commitment and motivation, not only because the coach is asking.
“They understood that, for the country and the team, you have to make sacrifices.
“To get them to do this for their country, it wasn’t easy to convince them, but they did it well.”
Rohr – whose side overcame Argentina 4-2 in a November 2017 friendly -however insists his squad will not be complacent ahead of their final group game against Lionel Messi and his colleagues.
“This will be the final in the group because the winner will be qualified. So, we will play to win this game,” Rohr added.
“We played against them in a friendly but there was no Messi when we beat them 4-2 in Krasnodar.
“Even if they make mistakes these little mistakes are always done by young players who miss experience.
“I said before the World Cup that we’re here to learn, too, and this team will be ready in 2022. This World Cup came too early but we have a good chance to win against Argentina.”