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Rohr: Super Eagles Not Among Favourites For 2019 AFCON Title; Speaks On Mikel, Moses; Defends Ozornwafor Invitation

Rohr: Super Eagles Not Among Favourites For 2019 AFCON Title; Speaks On Mikel, Moses; Defends Ozornwafor Invitation

Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has refused to pick his team among the favourites to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations title in Egypt believes they can make it to the semi-final stage of the competition, Completesports.com.

The three-time champions will make a return to the AFCON finals after missing the last two editions of the competition in 2015 and 2017.


The West Africans have a lot of talented players in their ranks with the likes of Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo, Wilfred Ndidi and Ahmed Musa expected to make big impact in Egypt 2019.

Rohr, who was once in charge of Gabon and Niger national teams has however lowered expectations ahead of the competition.

Zenith Ziva

“If we have good preparation in good conditions, Nigeria must aim for the semi-finals of AFCON 2019. We have a very young team that can do well,”Rohr stated in an interview with CAF’s website.

Rohr charges will face Seychelles in their last 2019 AFCON qualifying fixture later this month at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

The Germans last week released a 23-man list for the game with captain John Mikel Obi omitted again despite his impressive form for English Championship club Middlesbrough.

Mikel, 31, has not make an appearance for the Super Eagles since their exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but Rohr insists the former Chelsea midfielder still has a future in the team.

“He has arrived in Middlesbrough recently. He told me he was not ready and needs to work after his knee injury in China. He did not play all winter either. He was not ruled out for the AFCON but could not make that match in Asaba. We will see for the future.”he added.

Rohr also provides update on the Victor Moses who retired from international football after the World Cup.

“I was against his international retirement and, if he changed his mind, he must tell me but I have no information about it. We’ll see.”he said.

The former Bordeaux of France gaffer omitted Leicester City’s forward Kelechi Iheanacho from his latest squad for the game Seychelles and the friendly clash against Egypt.

Iheanacho has struggled for regular playing time at Leicester City this season.

He admitted that the former Manchester City player is still part of the team but warned players who don’t play regularly for their clubs risk missing out on a place in the final AFCON squad.

“Kelechi needs to play with his club. He also needs to take advantage of the international break to show his qualities to his new coach. I give him time but there is danger for the CAN for those who do not play regularly in their club. The final list for the AFCON far from being made for anyone. “he declared.

One surprise name on the list for the Seychelles and Egypt games is Enyimba defender Valentine Ozornwafor who shone for the Flying Eagles at the 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger.

“I expect this player to bring his freshness, his physical strength (1m97) and technical quality . It also offers us an additional option since we have a lot of right sided defenders. I saw him in Niger at the AFCON and I like his aerial game,”he added.

By Adeboye Amosu

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  • balorx 3 years ago

    rip iheanacho!!!!!

  • balorx 3 years ago

    my prediction is coming to pass… buh to be honest kelechi needs to buckle up


  • Even tho the coach refuses to admit it, Nigeria are always one of the favourites coming into any African football tournament. The top four teams at this year’s afcon will be Egypt, Senegal, Morocco and Nigeria.
    My first time commenting on here tho

  • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

    This is the first coach to go into into an afcon and say Nigeria is not favorite even Late Stephen Keshi never did. Shame on TheNFF this coach is a tag no wonder we had a nightmare at the WC. Right now he is putting more pressure by underrating and calling our players young so when they meet other teams even Benin they will be scared of playing.

    • Sometimes it’s not by making mouth that wins you game but right selection,tactics, knowing your players well and when to make changes and so on wins game. My only problem with Rohr is when to make changes, he is too conservative for my liking and also giving players playing time to prove themself. Apart from that no other problem.

  • Bomboy 3 years ago

    Rashford is young, but his coach is not complaining. So why does Mr Rohr complain?

    He complains because he equates the age of our boys with inexperience.

    But our Super Eagles are neither ‘young’, nor inexperienced.

    They play top flight football in Europe. In fact, many AFCON bound coaches would gladly exchange their ‘experienced’ players with our young team.

    Playing in the Premier League for one year gives you far more exposure than playing for Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa or TP Mazembe or Asante Kotoko for three years. I would rather go for a 19 year old player from Leicester City than a 28 year old from Asec Mimosa or even Alhaly and Zamalek!

    We have more Europe based pros than most (if not all) the teams that will be at the AFCON. So what is Mr Rohr complaining about? This man will lose my respect with ease if he keeps this up!

  • Bomboy 3 years ago

    Mutiu Adepoju believes that we have what it takes to win the AFCON, but our coach thinks otherwise

    I once said that Egypt is the clear favourite, but that is no excuse for a coach to aim for failire.

    I hope he is just trying to get his opponents off guard with those comments. However, if he really believes that we don’t have what it takes to win the AFCON, then he is a big disappointment!

    Of course, getting to the semi finals will be an achievement when you consider the fact that we have missed out on two consecutive tournaments, but that does not justify a coach aiming for second when the top position is up for grabs!

    We have won this competition three times before. Why should we aim lower than that? If we aim for the moon and miss it, we will still land among the stars!

    I have no respect for a coach going to a competition with his mind prepared to lose. The worst part is that his body language and words are affecting the players. That is why we played England with too much respect in that friendly game last year.

    There is no virtue in aiming low. I once coached an amateur basketball side to a competition where we were far from being the favourites, but I told them that we had the qualities to win, and to my greatest surpeise we won!

    Aiming for less than the best is a form of false modesty or fear. Aim high! Even of you miss it, you will end up with a better result than you would have got by aiming low.

    • I knew the qoutes of Rohr in this article would p*ss you off .

    • Ikeben 3 years ago

      Coach Rohr always like to manage expectations by saying things like this. Some like to boast about how good their team is while others like Rohr like to play down his team strength obviously to reduce expectation and pressure on the team. It think it doesn’t really matter if this is what he says to the media.

      But what matters most is what he believes about the team and what he says to the boys. If he tells them same, then it is a pity. But I want to believe he tells them something different in their training and that they have what it takes to win the cup. Otherwise he is demotivating them

  • I knew the qoutes of Rohr in this article would p*ss you off .

    • Bomboy 3 years ago

      And it did! Sorry for my outbursts though.

      • No need to apologize bro. Maybe we are all taking this thing too seriously….

  • This is nothing but à kind of mind game from the coach,dont know why some People are blasting him,sometimes in football u tag ur self as an underdust in order to check off so much pressure from ur team ….i believe that Roah believe so much in super Eagles

  • Asoko Emmanuel 3 years ago

    Our problem as individuals is that we do not accept our frailty in areas we actually knows nothing about.We attempt to make incursion into sphere we don’t have business meddling with.The main reasons we pass judgment on a professional over certain comments is because we r not in his shoes(he’s trained in the act of coaching,gathered experience over time,has coached in Eaurope and has seen it all, was even on a technical duty with the German Federation before he was called.A testimony that he’s not a coach of less repute) In other words he’s sound and highly technical and has even been on this job before some us was born.
    It is not out of place to hear coaches play mind games or lower the bar on their teams as this is a general norm amongst great coaches around the world.Again this act of lowering the bar is a huge tactics deployed by coaches before a game or tournament in order to take the pressure off his team and does not in any way aimed at underestimating or kill the moral of his team.Infact in this modern era it is an aberration for anyone to think that a coach is dimining his team’s moral when in actual sense it is obvious he’s doing the exact opposite.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong in the above quoted statement,”if we have a good preparation in a good condition Nigeria must aim for the semi finals,we have a young team that can do well”.These in all honesty is taking the pressure off his team which is sound wisdom.The fact that he recognises that he has a young team that can do well speaks of his confidence for his young team.Mr Bomboy with respect u actually took it off context.Its a norm among coaches and it is a well come development.

  • Asoko Emmanuel 3 years ago

    Sorry, some of us were born

  • make una erase dis una news befor he provoke me…..somebody cannot see his country team going into tournament in peace again?? this was thesame way this coach was provoking us into worldcup. and we later saw that result too bad, so we call for his replacement….now he has started it again. indirectly calling us another inferiority complex again wen he scared us out of the tournament…..rohr respect urself never u make de players feel inferior among african teams….no provoke me ooh. hing

  • @Asoko emmanuel, u re the kind of people meant to be slave in life…why did u accept inferiority among other africans? which other african coach underrate his team or kill or dent the worth of his team? or predict semi final for his team in africa? did rohr better than croatia,france,brazil,belgium,england,russia coaches that never said such stupid things? wake up man. say no to “inferiority”. believe in urself, believe u can do it.

  • Brutus 'the barber' Beefcake 3 years ago

    I am laughing in swahili

  • Asoko Emmanuel 3 years ago

    The statement the kind of people meant to be slave in life is derogatory my brother and absolutely uncalled for and nothing in the above analysis calls for such unsouvery statement refrain from it.

    • Kelvin 3 years ago

      Mind games in sports is a weapon used over and over again by coaches all over the world. This shouldn’t be seen diffidently.

  • Edoman of NewJersey,USA 3 years ago

    Obama went for the US Presidential election with a motto ” Yes, we can !!” in a Nation that never want to see us on this streets more so to vote for a Black man. No Army General who is preparing for battles would ever tell his troops that the other side is superiors to them. South African coach, well before coming to Nigeria, have been boasting of how his team will beat Nigeria at home for the first time in their history. You all saw what happened in that match last year. l can go and on to tell you guys about the usefulness of having a self belief of yourself particularly in soccer games, where the mind games is a better part of the whole process. Every body sees how this games is being played out every day in our lives. May be Rohr himself needs to learn how to approach the concept of motivations to achieve the set goals in his professional career.

  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    This is the time you people should realized that I deserves some respect. Am I not?

    I have said it before now that Nigeria is not among the favorites but some groups of people here were talking just like they knew more than the coach and omo9ja.

    Like I said before, I know you these cabals on this forum one by one but I refused to mentioning names one by one. They also have savants here whom doesn’t think before talking. Now that coach Rohr has spoken, I’m expecting this APC and PDP group of people on this forum to come out from wherever they are hiding and apologize to Nigerians.

    However, you guys have to apologize to CSN, omo9ja, Chima E Samuels and some of patriotic Nigerians on this platform.

    You guys can see now that we don’t have a coach or group of coaches who can give the team a courage, believe, boldness, confidence and winning mentality?

    From now on, I will stop paying attention to this people because they have lost it big time and they think they know it all but they should remember a story called an Apple pie.

    They are hiding their faces now. You guys haven’t seen anything yet. If coach Rohr fails to deliver a strong squad and performing well in Egypt, I will hold NFF president and this group of cabals on this forum responsible for it. Afcon having started yet and we are beginning to hear excuses again?

    I’m trying my best to put an end to corruption on this forum and even in the Country. We patriotic Nigerians want to bring Nigeria back. We will make sure we take Super Eagles team back from these people by God’s grace. Hmmm…. Still early to talk. God bless Nigeria!!!

    • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

      Hahahahah…It is you who should bury your head in shame and apologize to CSN forum. I dont even know how you manage to summon courage and come here. You that said we wouldn’t qualify for AFCON. You said Adel Amrouche is better than Rohr, You said Baxter was far better than rohr because he was boastful. LMAO. Unfortunately for you, we qualified with a game to spare, Adel Amrouche is jobless, and baxter wouldnt be at AFCON. It is you who has lost it bro.

      • Nobody said anything when Herve Rennard said Morocco were not favourites. He even went ahead to call Nigeria one of the favorites. Its just mind games the two coaches are playing. Pride has never done any good.

    • Wow! He wants to end corruption on this forum…CSN Buari.
      In rohr I trust!

  • Pompei 3 years ago

    Which is better – a coach who promises to win a competition, and then fails to qualify for it, or a coach who tones down expectation, but actually qualifies us for the competition. People forget that Nigeria was absent in the last 2 editions, after winning it in 2013! Of course, we all know that if Nigeria is at the Afcon, we are usually a contender. Rohr, in my opinion, does not need to say this. I would rather have a coach who talks less and delivers more, than some of our coaches in the recent past who love press conferences, and will talk all day, only to fail to even qualify for the competition they promised to win!

  • Pompei 3 years ago

    As Asoko Emmanuel so eloquently put it – Rohr with this statement is not diminishing his team’s morale. He is actually boosting it by taking pressure of them. Some pressure is good, as it drives athletes to better performances, but too much pressure will result in diminishing returns. Rohr is acting with wisdom and tact here. These are not bad qualities for a coach to have. Every informed football fan knows what Nigeria is capable of at the Afcon. Talking up and down by Rohr will not increase our chances of winning the competition. Coaches can talk and boast all they want, but it is what happens on the pitch that decides the encounter. And, from a psychological perspective, not talking too much can create fear and apprehension in our opponents! Our people say that if you see 2 dogs, one is barking furiously and the other is not barking, beware of the one that is not barking. That dog is the more dangerous of the two.

    • A standing ovation for your entry above mate. Very considered opinion ; thanks.

      One thing I leart from primary school is:”pride goes before a fall”.

      I would rather have a modest coach who manages expectations than a coach who boasts but doesn’t deliver when it matters.

      • Adisboy 3 years ago

        Absolutely spot on. It’s just managing expectations. But objectively if you look at our performances against African opposition over the past 2 years and the fact that we were the 2nd best African team at the World Cup, we are CLEARLY one of the favourites.

      • pompei 3 years ago

        Thanks, Deo.

  • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

    Ahead of the start of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, coach of the senior national team of Morocco Herve Renard has tipped the Super Eagles among teams who could lift the tournament in Egypt in June.

    Renard made this known in an interview on the official website of Africa football governing body CAF as teams who are yet to be through to the Africa Cup of Nations get set for the final round of qualifiers.

    The coach of Morocco who won the cup of nations with Zambia in 2012 however admitted that host Egypt stand a very big chance of winning the trophy due to the array of stars they parade, notably Mohammed Salah of Liverpool.

    Nigeria who were champions the last time they took part in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 made the list of teams the coach feel will trouble the ambition of his team to lift the tournament.

    “Statistically, football lovers know that Egypt is a great country especially when you can count on Mohamed Sala. And even more so at home with strong popular support”, the coach said.

    “It will be very difficult for all their opponents. Which team today has individual qualities like Sadio Mané or Koulibaly for Senegal? Let us not forget also the Ivory Coast of Nicolas Pépé and Serge Aurier, the defending champions of Cameroon or Nigeria. I’d rather not be a braggart for Morocco but make the opponents fall on the field.”
    Above is Herve Renhard’s interview. He didnt even EVEN mention his side Morrocco in the scheme of things. He didnt even EVEN mention how far he thinks his side will go. Just read through and see how he COMPLETELY deflected attention away from his side. When we all know that morrocco is even FAR MORE DANGEROUS than egypt going by their records in the last world cup qualifiers (They went all thro without conceding a single goal) and how they played at the world cup proper. Morrocco and Senegal rank above even egypt in terms of teams that we can tip for the title. But a coach who has won the AFCON twice in the last 7 years and is coaching one of the top ranked teams in africa isnt EVEN MENTIONING his side.
    I think our home based coaches mentality has sunk so deep into many of us that we are beginning to reason like them. They come out all bragging and boastful and raise our hopes and expectations and then shock you first with very terrible and questionable squad list and cap it up with dashed hopes at the tournament proper. I’ve noticed with keep attention how the top coaches in the EPL ‘wind themselves up’ in public by conceding to the prowess of the other only to come and shock them much latter. These coaches know what they go back to tell their players in the dressing room and in camp to psyche them up to the assignments at hand.
    Anybody who is angry that a coach has given his team an appellation that he likes should go and break d wall with his head. It is a free world. If Rohr calls his team ‘young’ feel free to call the old, lions, champions, winners, etc whatever you want. But just as I said…..its a free world.

  • greenturf 3 years ago

    Typical Rohr,i’m surprise that some people are mad or rather put off by Rohr’s statements,well this is not going to change unfortunately because this is who Rohr is.
    As humans we should be self-effacing and make light of what we achieved and as well what we are hoping to achieve.Humility,modesty,inconspicuousness especially in ones actions does not make you a timid person or in other words uninspiring.
    Reverences especially to your opponents and people in general is the norms in modern times.Showing deep or overwhelming respect for a team does not make yours inferior its just respect and that’s who Rohr is and that’s how it should be in my opinion.
    However,our first round exit in Russia wasn’t as a result of Rohr’s meekness in fact he did well.We may have exited in the first round but we did that narrowly and left Russia not disgraced and with our heads held high.
    I think we had too much expectations in Russia forgetting that most of our boys are young and inexperienced going to a major tournament like the world cup.We can see the tremendous improvement and energy in the team since the post world cup,that’s the experience gathered from participating in such a global tournament.
    Hopefully with couple of tournaments like the nations cup before the next world cup we should be well prepared to go further this time around because our boys wont be behind in experience unlike the last world cup which we participated on the back of two missed nations cup which really affected our team in many ways.
    Rohr and the boys know they are capable of winning the trophy but must do so with respect to their opponents and Nigerians should know that there are equally good teams going to Egypt.However,we are not the overwhelming favourites to win the biennial tournament rather one of the favourites.
    God bless Nigeria.

  • too much of eating food is inimical to a man, tis not good, it made one to forget so soon…many with nadir wit have forgot rohr modest, his fearness that he use to kill our player morale in the name of “mind game” did he came out in a flying colour?? but shamefully end up in “group game”…he did thesame mind game against bafana bafana while bafana coach was full of boast that he wil silent us at our own ground which he did by 2 goals to nil…thats african mentality 11 vs 11 and it energize the players to do it.. kj such bad useless mind game never work in african blood….

    • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

      Boastful south african coach will not go to AFCON….’boastless’ Genort Rohr qualified for afcon with a game to spare. Do the maths yourself. Nor be who first reach police station dey win case. Yiyo ekun kii se t’ojo…!

  • corrupt lazy and youths everywhere.

  • Omoyoruba 3 years ago

    With due respect “ Omo9ja. You no get sense at all. You are a typical African man with dump brain

  • I have never heard Brazil or Argentina come out to say “we will win the world cup or The South American cup”.
    I have never heard Italy, Germany or France come out to say we are favourites to win the European cup, but we hear Rohr saying it will be hard and people are jumping upandan.

    We did not qualify for 2015, we did not qualify for 2017 AFCON, all of a sudden he should be announcing “we will win it”

  • Alamin 3 years ago

    I don’t see this statement as a bad one, the coach is just using it to take pressure of d team. even with this speech no African team can ever look down on us bcos there know d kind of talented players in d team. and @ somepeople saying d coach is d cause of our early exit in d WC pls except from d Croatia match did we not play well enough though we did not progress to d Gstage but we had an excellent competition. we can’t expect him to be a braggart and go to d finals to fumble. his public statement is totally different from d one at training. I believe as a professional coach he knows what he gat to do to bring home d trophy. he is d coach we have no choice than to support him.