‘Fear of failure behind Rohr’s neglect of home-based players’

[File] Nigeria’s German coach Gernot Rohr watches his players during a training session at Essentuki Arena in southern Russia on June 23, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Former Super Eagles Assistant Coach, Joe Erico believes national team manger, Gernot Rohr is so scared of failure that he doesn’t want to play with home-based players even in friendly games.

Nigeria will meet Uganda in a friendly match in Asaba shortly after the Super Eagles’ African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa this month. And for that game, the Eagles manager only named one home-based defender, while three others are on standby.

Erico said Rohr’s attitude to the home-based players is a reflection that the Franco-German coach has studied Nigerians and understood that they want the national team win every game.

Erico said the Eagles’ coach dependence on foreign-based players, if not checked, could have a negative effect on domestic players’ ability to challenge their foreign-based counterparts for positions in the national team.He said it was an irony that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), which always complains of paucity of funds, would spend so much in ferrying foreign-based players to South Africa for this month’s AFCON qualifier and then bring them back to Nigeria for the friendly against Uganda.

Erico submitted that Nigerian football would not develop if urgent measures were not taken to change Rohr’s attitude to domestic players, stressing that some Nigerian league stars players were much better than some of their Europe-based counterparts.

“The coach only wants to win games without seeking to discover and help nurture home grown talents. The coach does not care about what happens at the home front.

“Rohr should have used the Uganda friendly as a good opportunity to discover players from the NPFL that are good for national assignment. The Nigerian clubs that played in the Aiteo Cup semifinal and final have quality players that can be picked for the warm up game.

“Enyimba also just played in the CAF Confederation Cup semifinal. All the other Nigerian clubs are currently training for the new league season, so the Super Eagles coach doesn’t have any excuse not to use the domestic players.

This win-at-all cost mentality is killing Nigerian football. The coach is interested in only results and not in the development of Nigerian football. But I don’t blame Rohr because he is only following the terms of his employment,” he said.

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Gernot RohrJoe Erico
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