Gernot Rohr, a former Germany international defender, had in his over five years as the head coach of Nigeria’s senior football team, the Super Eagles, led the country to 54 international matches.
A tally by News Agency of Nigeria shows that he has won 28 of those matches, a record many Nigerians believe are not good enough given the ranking of Nigeria in Africa’s football hierarchy and the pool of football talent available to the country.
But the disenchantment of Nigeria’s football fans with Rohr got to a head last Tuesday when the Super Eagles barely secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Cape Verde in Lagos.
Though the team got to the final round of African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup finals by topping the group, many Nigerians were not impressed. Super Eagles had in their last match at the same stadium lost 1-0 to Central Africa
Republic who was ironically beaten 3-1 by Liberia last Tuesday.
Many Nigerians simply believe that the German who was employed by Nigerian in 2016 is not worthy of staying a longer in the job.
Sack Rohr now
Former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, spoke the minds of Nigerian football fans when he asked the Nigeria Football Federation to sack Rohr on Thursday morning in a post of his official Facebook page.
Kalu, now the Chief Whip of the Senate, stated that Nigerian soccer lovers don’t need further dissatisfaction from Rohr who he said is not a good coach.
Kalu said, “In the last five years, we have wasted our time in football. There is nothing new we are doing any longer. To see a country with many professional players home and abroad struggling to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup is heartbreaking. Gernot Rohr is not a good coach and I don’t understand why he is still managing Super Eagles.”
Kalu added that Rohr had applied to become Enyimba’s coach when he was Governor, but he denied him the opportunity.
“He was brought to Nigeria by Oscar Udoji but I refused to employ him.
“I am calling on the Chairman of NFF, Mr. Amaju Pinnick to wake up and to quickly find a replacement for Rohr. We, soccer lovers, don’t need further dissatisfaction in a game, we have the capacity to make ourselves proud.”
Kalu added that If Rohr has the same problem while coaching every year then he is not a leader.
“You are rather a problem on your own that must be solved,” he added.
Therefore, it was like prayers answered when news went round later Thursday that Rohr has been relieved of his job by the NFF. The news of the sack of the German coach, attributed to no one in particular spread widely and was publicized, especially on the social media to the excitement of football fans.
Some local and international media organisations also reported that the 68-year old had been given the boot by the NFF, his employer.
No so fast!
But the joy of the football fans was cut short as the NFF denied that it has asked Rohr to go.
NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, in a statement quoted the President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, as saying that no such decision had been taken.
However, even from the statement and the press conference later addressed by Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, it seem the sack of the German tactician is only a matter of time.
For instance, Pinnick was quoted in the statement as saying that the Board of the NFF is studying the report of the Technical Committee, submitted after the match against Cape Verde in Lagos, on Tuesday and a decision will be taken one way or the other after that.
“There are a number of possibilities, but we have not taken a decision to sack Gernot Rohr. “I want to assure that whatever decision that is eventually taken will be one that will please the generality of Nigerians,” he said.
Pinnick added that Rohr has a contract with the NFF which contains a procedure for disengagement.
“If we get to that bridge, both parties will look at the contract and see what has to be done both ways.
“The Super Eagles’ squad is a national asset and we are just fortunate to be in that space to take decisions.
“Any decision we take must be what will be acceptable to Nigerians from far and near,” he said.
It was learnt that officials of the NFF had met to consider the future of Rohr as Super Eagles coach and hos his huge compensation will be settled if he is asked to go ahead of the expiration of his contract with Nigeria.
A sports journalist with ESPN, Colin Udoh said he was told on and off record that Gernot Rohr has not been fired, but he’s been asked to consider resignation,” in a tweet on Thursday.
Rohr also admitted that the NFF wanted him to resign following Super Eagles’ 1-1 draw against Cape Verde in their final Group C World Cup qualifier in Lagos on Tuesday.
Wait Till Next Week!
The Minister of Youth and Sports was very categorical, saying that NFF will decide the fate of Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, next week.
Dare who spoke at the weekly ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja added that Rohr’s future with the Super Eagles will depend on a report to be submitted by the NFF in the coming days.
He said, “Once we have national matches like these, there is an operating procedure.
“First, the NFF will receive a technical report that analyses the game. And based on that, we will review, scrutinize and benchmark the report. Thereafter it will make a decision either about the players or about the coaching staff.
“The ministry is waiting for that report from the NFF. What it will contain or recommend, I cannot say for now. Before the end of the week, we’ll have that report and it will touch on many areas.”
“We know what the concerns are. We’ll do whatever is necessary and we’ll be timely about it to make sure Nigeria’s football is of the highest quality and that we’ll play in Qatar,” he added.
The era of Rohr as the head coach of Super Eagles may be coming to an end.