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INTERVIEW: Rohr On Growing Up, Playing Career And Modern Football

INTERVIEW: Rohr On Growing Up, Playing Career And Modern Football

Born on 28 June, 1953, into a football family, Gernot Rohr’s career as a football tactician is no mean feat.

The one-time Sports Director of Eintracht Frankfurt football club of Germany has managed several African countries including Niger Republic, Gabon and Burkina Faso on different occasions.

The German tactician led Bordeaux of France to the UEFA Cup final where they lost to Bayern Munich in 1996.

In this exclusive interview on Naijasuperfans.com Podcast, Rohr speaks about his football playing career, advancement in modern football as well as his relationship with Nigerian football fans.

Rohr’s growing up in a football loving family 

I was born in a football family. My father was a coach, my brothers were players so it was an obligation for me to grow up in this same job.

I was the last born from six children so when they wanted to play three against three in the garden, then I was two years old already, I was in the game and I had to play with my brothers who were far older than me, even with one sister she played also.

It was a natural evolution for me, I use to accompany my father to his training sessions who was also a teacher. So he use to teach in the morning and coach in the afternoon. So it was a natural decision for me to go into football because all the time I followed my brothers and my father. Then I could sir on the bench even as a small boy. So for me it was a natural thing to go into football.

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Playing career

I was selected for Germany’s U-15, U-20, then Bayern Munich took me and I had experience with the best players in the world, world champions in 1974 with five or six players from Bayern. Then I had injury and 10 months I could not play, a cruciate ligament and I had to struggle to comeback.

And I had a second career in Bordeaux in France for 12 years. It was wonderful with big players also like Jean Tigana, Alain Vitesse, wonderful team and a big coach Aime Jacque who was my coach for 10 years.

When you see the people who were in this team a lot of them are coaches also. I think there’s still Vitesse, Tigana and others who have become coaches.

I had the chance to have these examples who helped me to become a coach and I could do my Diploma for coaching in the last three, four years when I was a player. During my holidays I go to the school of coaches to learn. And when I stopped my career after 17 years of professional football, I went immediately into the academy of Bordeaux and I have been a coach till today.

Rohr on advancement in modern football 

In this years there’s a big evolution. At first the game is quicker, stronger, perfect technically now and more intense. And the characters and the people is moving more and more in terms of commercial interest, more and more popularity. And the players themselves are changing because it’s a new generation. Now it’s not only about technology, there is more individualism and the money is changing the people also.

But I think football is going in the right direction because there is still focus on the game and when I see what they are doing in the AFCON it’s going in the right direction and these young players you now have a big difference in your team. And in your team some players are black, some are white and in our team we have some mixed players.

Some either the mother is from Germany and the father is from Nigeria, mother is Holland, father is from Nigeria. It’s nice to see this because It is giving a good spirit, so because we have to be tolerant in terms of religion, it is interesting to work with it but all the time everybody must be able to follow his religion but on the pitch he has to accept what the coach wants to do, discipline and organisation, tactical and technical things to respect and of course to go in the same direction in solidarity, this is the first things we have to show like a team.

Rohr on relationship with Nigerian football fans

The Nigerian football fans know what’s happening because we are open, we are speaking with the people who are asking us. All the time there is a good communication, Nigerians see that we want to play the way they know, with big diversity, big commitment, the passion and to make a team with different people, different colours, different religion with different minds.

But on the pitch we have to be one, we are one and we have to fight like one. When one of us has problem we are here to help him and I think this message for my team they feel it and accept it.

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