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Rohr, Nigeria’s New ‘White Witch Doctor’?

Rohr, Nigeria’s New ‘White Witch Doctor’?

The last time this phrase was used for any Super Eagles coach was under the reign of French tactician, Philippe Omar Troussier as he masterminded Nigeria’s qualification to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.

He was nicknamed the ‘white witch doctor’ due to his tactics and style of approach with the Super Eagles. Not known for playing beautiful football, Troussier is certainly going to get you the maximum point even though he was axed from taking the team to the World Cup.

15 years after, Nigeria seems to have found another new white witch doctor in Gernot Rohr; who has changed the facelift of the senior national with some great and exciting talents. He has made most qualifications look easy for the Super Eagles without the usual permutations that the team is known for once they are in a tight corner.

His gradual progress with the team may be termed as ‘slow and steady’ considering the fact that when he was first appointed as the coach of the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in 2016, a few doubted his capability of technical and tactical prowess.

Recall that on May 25, 2018, former Super Eagles captain and midfielder, Mikel Obi described Rohr as the man with the magic wand who has turned the team around from a side that was unable to qualify for two Africa Cup of Nations competitions to one that is World Cup-bound in just two years.

“With due respect to the other coaches who I have had the privilege of working under, Gernot Rohr has had the most profound impact on the team. He’s brought a new work ethic, discipline and positive energy, and a new way of doing things professionally.” Mikel said.

Since taking over, Rohr has built a team composed of mostly young players and has also worked with the federation to entice players born abroad and representing other countries in age-group football, to switch their international allegiance to Nigeria.

He also turned around Nigeria’s fortunes, qualifying with ease for both the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where his team finished third and he became the first Nigerian coach to use all 23 players in the squad.

Critics have pointed to his snobbery of players from the domestic league, as well as perceived lack of tactical game management, but NFF officials have stood by their man.

Most recently, he qualified the team for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations slated for Cameroon with a game to spare and not allowing football-loving Nigerians development hypertension in the process.

The Super Eagles finished the qualifying campaign as one of only four unbeaten sides, chalking up 14 points — only Tunisia, with 16 points, did better — and it is their best points tally in the final group phase of qualifying since the 2008 series when Berti Vogts team’ hit 15 points from five wins and one loss.

It is also the second consecutive major tournament qualifying series, after the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, in which Rohr’s team has been unbeaten on the field.

With the team getting set for the kick start of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, where Nigeria has been pitted alongside, Liberia, Central Africa Republic, and Cape Verde, it is certain that Rohr, who may have earned the toga as Nigeria’s new white witch doctor will not only qualify the team for the Mundial but will go ahead and win the 2022 AFCON title. Albeit, only time will tell.

By Augustine Akhilomen

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  • Oakfield 3 years ago

    Amen o, he will win it by God’s Grace. Imagine the outstanding achievements this man has chalked up in a very short period of time. Odegbami and his gang of ex cricket internationals would really have a bad day bcs of this article. Lol. Records and facts don’t lie. God bless u, Augustine for speaking the truth.

    • GLORY 3 years ago

      Amen too. Nice one broda man Oakfield. Abeg leave Odegbas and his personal vendetta towards Rohr. It’s has been so obvious right from day 1, it’s not about national interest but personal. We are too enlightened to veiled escorted unto doomsday. This is not 60s but 2021.

      • Oakfield 3 years ago

        I’m telling @glory. Shame on him and his gang. We now see their sort are a clog in the wheel of the progress of our football and other areas of the polity.

    • KangA 3 years ago

      Those years were very memorable. I had my sturdy calculator ready. . . and made sure there were extra batteries. Here goes the intriguing scenario if the S E must qualify for AFCON:

      Madagascar must defeat Manchester City by a wide margin while avoiding a crushing defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns . . . . and must draw Egypt ha ha ha ha

      • Oakfield 3 years ago

        Lol@kangA, u don kill me.. Lol…. I had spare calculators too and correct vodka to kill of high bp at the time.

  • kingrudolf 3 years ago

    He is not and can not be the ‘White Witch Doctor’ Because he has been lucky yes i said it he has been lucky so far don’t mean he has what it takes to improve and elevate the team to any from of height close to what we had when the original ‘White Witch Doctor’ was here , trust this with abundant talent in the team , he would not be able to deliver, A case in hand to show that with the talent he would disappoint nigerians is Nig vs Sierra leone …..

    So please do not refer to him as the ‘White Witch Doctor’ again he is not capable !

    • Who be this one?

      Oga we no just understand wetin u dey tok ataaaal.

      Use either IGBO LANGUAGE or PIGIN….


    • Ikeben 3 years ago

      You have not asked yourself how come we suddenly have abundance of talents in our team. Is it by accident. Or you think in the years past Nigeria was lacking talent.

      Formerly SE team was hardly attractive to the foreign born players because the hear of the level of corruption to get into the team. Where our best players like Martins and Ike Uche where left out of a World cup squad with their banging of goals all over Europe by the then coach. Now we see call up basically by Merit. When you want to get call up you try to improve your club performance or you move to a more competitive league. Then you get his attention. Then we see talents everywhere and you think it is an accident.

      You even heard from the captain Mikel who spent about 15years in Super Eagles telling you what he knows, an insider perspective and you say that Rohr is been lucky. My brother this is not luck but simply Rohr and NFF working together quietly to bring us to this point. Let him that has ear let him hear.

      • Chima E Samuels 3 years ago

        Ikeben you’re right the coach has turned a new leaf when it comes to giving chances to right players unlike before when he left Iheanacho from the Afcon team. Goodluck to team Naija……

  • Augustine…you goofed. Philip Trousier has been given that alias before he came to Nigeria. He had coached other African teams like cotedivoire before he can to Nigeria. He has been white witch Doctor before he came here. Anyway…great report.

  • I always like this man’s article…

    Oga AUGUSTINO i dey troway salut for u dia…. 3 gbosa for u sef…. U too much.

    I think u really knows and understands the feelings of the masses…. Especially the elderly SE fan…
    abeg no vex o, mek i cut cap for u join…. U be baba… After u na u… Dey man wey sabi…. Papa na papa….
    Good things will always locate u. Amen.

    Gone are the days our local coaches use to make us cry, cause bigger problems for our elderly super eagles fan.

    Imagine a 60 or 70 year old SE fan watching SE game in suspense…
    B4 U what’s up, minos like SUDAN or CONGO don hama NIGERIA.
    The next thing is hypertention or something terrible will happen to his health.

    But this MECHANIC, PE TEACHER, BELMADI BOY came in & turn qualifiers that use require fasting & prayer for SE to even stand a chance of qualifying as “runners up” into “inter house sport.”

    Anybody wey no sing this man praise na winch… Enemy of progress… Haters of good things…promoters of bad & evil things.


  • Gattuso 3 years ago

    Gernot Rohr may have been having it slow and steady but he’s level headed and knows what he’s doing. He also knows how to pick his eggs to achieve whatever he wants to do.

    And thank God also for the NFF who have been giving him a free hand to operate even though there are bad eggs among the echelons

    I learnt he’s now banking on Michel Olise of Reading, 19, as the new SE midfield maestro for the World Cup Qualifiers come June.

    And truth be told, Olise is such a mesmerising, sleeky player. I had been hearing about this boy before now but after watching Watford 2 vs 0 Reading, I began to pray that this boy should just agree to play for Nigeria because the commentator referred to him as the French Midfielder. His combination with Ovie Ejiara was scintillating in the midfield but they lacked sharp strikers. Watford only won because of counter attacks and solidity of their defence with Ekong, who later left the pitch injured

    Simply put, he’s Baller and he has a place in the SE midfield ceteris paribus

    As a SE fan, I’m equally looking forward to qualification for the World Cup Qualifiers next round even with games to spare, a grounding qualification proper from the next round, possible clean sheets, minimal goals conceded, undefeated records protected, highest goal scoring and scorer records, notching the next AFCON TROPHY in grand style, African and World Record breaking performance in the World Cup come June next year

    Even at the moment, the FIFA Ranking is speaking for the SE superlative performances.

    As lovers of International Football and faithful fans, we can only ask and yearn for the best performance and outing for our Dear SE Team

    • DiMastta 3 years ago

      There is a reason he still plays in the English second division: he is not made of premier stuff yet. Super Eagles is a premier brand and not for minors who have not yet proven themselves at the Table For Men

    • Note Olise will still be referred to as representing England until he plays for Nigeria SE. The case of Appkgunma of Augsburg fc in Germany is vivid example. He was referred to as German player until he played for Nigeria.

  • Omo9ja 3 years ago

    Well, as a patriotic Nigerian, I can’t deny Oga Rohr his right. He is not perfect but we can give him maximum support.

    He did well to improve Super Eagles.

    But calling him “White Witch Doctor”

    In terms of qualifications 100% yes no doubt.

    In terms of playing in the competitions with the best teams? I don’t think so.

    What we can do or what NFF can do is to strengthen the coaching department by getting an expert with him. I believe in Mr. Eguavoen’s ability and quality. He is over qualified to help Oga Rohr succeed.

    His confidence is high and huge, determined and more so, he understand the game of football.

    The combinations of Coach Rohr, Mr. Eguavoen and Yobo should be ok for Super Eagles to deliver great results for Nigeria.

    NFF doesn’t need to spend money unnecessary to hire another assistant for the gaffer, NFF should just switch Mr. Eguavoen from his current position to help Oga Rohr then we will have what it takes to beat and compete with the best.

    Since they, NFF doesn’t believe in Amunike and Egbo and Enyeama yet, I think this is the best to do because with the squad we have presently, we can win the Afcon by God’s grace and go far at the world cup.

    All in all, kudos to Oga Rohr. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

    • Bobo Colorado Springs 3 years ago

      Good talk bro!

    • pompei 3 years ago

      Omogidi ti gba penalty wo le!
      For the first time in history.

    • Chris 3 years ago

      Omo9ja please what has Mr. Eguavoen being doing of late. Do you have a clear report of his current status as a coach? If yes, please let us know.

      I get am before no be property oh!

      My dear, if you must add a Nigerian as head coach of Eagles (after this your Oyibo P.E teacher must have left the position), Please give us a coach who we all have seen and deserve the call-up.

      The time has come for you to start scouting for a new valid coach, just like we are scouting for players who should wear the green and white of the Super Eagles.

      NB. I am not Dr. Drey

    • I disagree. He will only make the job difficult for Rorh as two captains can’t be in the same boat. He already made a complaint against Rorh as not taking advice from him. So it’s best he stays away from the coaching staff.

  • Ako AMADI 3 years ago

    No need for witchcraft if any manager possesses the quality material that Gernot Rohr currently has at his disposal.

  • Note Olise will still be referred to as representing French player until he plays for Nigeria SE. The case of Appkgunma of Augsburg fc in Germany is vivid example. He was referred to as German player until he played for Nigeria.

  • MuYiwa 3 years ago

    @Chima, this comment is very illogical sir. so he shd have gone with Kelechi in spite of his very poor form at that time. That’s y Rohr is better than ur African Guardiolas.

  • Sometimes, I wonder how Rohr succeeded in having enemies in almost every sector in Nigeria. People who sell calculators, people who sell High BP drugs, people who sell Hypertension drugs, people who sell alcohol, pharmacists,doctors, football agents, ex SE players, ministers, politicians, former SE coaches etc

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