By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos.
Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr has dismissed fears in some quarters that the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are capable of stopping Nigeria from qualifying for Russia 2018 World Cup.
He gave the assurance during an interactive section with the media during which he unveiled his programme for 2017 noting that both the present crop of Super Eagles players are better than their Cameroonians, Algerian and Zambian counterparts.
“I’m very optimistic that Nigeria will qualify for the world cup in 2018. We’ve started well; beating Zambia for the first time in their home ground and winning an important victory against Algeria in Uyo.
“We are now looking forward to our next match against Cameroon which I hope we will win in Uyo. It is true that a lot of people are expressing concern about the Cameroonian match but when you look at their performance so far, you will discover that we have things going for us.
“My players are progressing with every game. Cameroon on the other hand could not win in Zambia and Yaoundé which will make the game interesting. Although it will be a very difficult match considering the rivalry existing between the two countries but at the end of the day, we will grab the three points at stake.
“I am also going to be in Gabon during AFCON 2017 as a pundit for a French television station and it will also enable me to spy on our World Cup rivals Cameroon which will be of immense help to my team”, noted the former Niger, Burkina Faso and Gabon handler.
The Franco- German tactician stated that he is aware of some deficiencies in his side with an assurance that he is working hard to ensure that he introduce new players that will block the loopholes.
I’m quite aware that there are some areas of concern in the team and that is why I have been monitoring some players with the hope of inviting then to beef up the team before our next two world cup qualifiers in August and September.
On his plans to give home based player’s opportunity in the Super Eagles, the former Sports Director of Eintracht Frankfurt explained that his assistants are monitoring players in the Local League and can recommend any good player to be invited to the national camp.
Comparing his job as the Super Eagles handler with his stint in Niger and Gabon, Rohr stated that in the two countries, he was working with players who were not attached to any club while Nigeria boosts of talented players plying their trade in some of the best leagues in the world which he describes as an added advantage.
To ensure that the team is kept busy before Nigeria resumes its qualification campaign, he revealed that a number of friendly games have been lined up for the Super Eagles before taking on Cameroon in Uyo in August. The friendlies include Senegal in March and a yet to named opponent in June. It is also expected that the early kick off of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers in 2017 will also add action to the preparation of the Super Eagles.
Rohr saying he is in Nigeria to ‘make history’, used the occasion to warn that no player should assume he has permanent shirt in his team, stressing that he will always go for those players who are playing regularly for their teams.
“I know that some players can have some problems which will make them not to play regularly. But I hope that before the end of the transfer window, some of them will get clubs where they will be playing regularly to enable us access their fitness level and performance”, he concluded.