The controversies surrounding the contract extension for Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is about to come to an end, according to reports.
The contract is expected to run out after the 2022 World Cup. It is easy to decipher that the Nigeria Football Federation have given Rohr this new contract with the next World Cup in mind.
It is likely to be his last tournament in charge of the Super Eagles.
Rohr and the NFF have finally reached an agreement.
If the Super Eagles qualify for the mundial, in addition to two African Cup of Nations expected before then, it is expected that Qatar 2022 will be Rohr’s fifth major international tournament in charge of the Super Eagles. By then, there will be no excuses for ‘failure’. Nigerians will expect Rohr to lead the country to World Cup glory in 2022.
World Cup glory in Nigeria’s contest may not necessarily be winning the World Cup and to be realistic, no one is expecting Nigeria to win the World Cup by 2022.
A respectable position at the end of the World Cup will be regarded as World Cup glory. At least, a quarter-final finish will be celebrated by Nigerians. It would be Nigeria’s best finish at the World Cup.
Rohr has brought stability into the Super Eagles.
Rohr’s time in the Super Eagles has divided opinion but no one can argue that he has brought stability to the team. The Super Eagles have hardly had a consistent core since the 1994 set completely left the scene. It has been years of chopping and changing. The NFF changed coaches like underwear and the coaches in turn, change the make-up and image of the team.
Qualification for the World Cup and third-place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations will not be enough for Rohr anymore.
Nigerians expect the Super Eagles to qualify for the next AFCON, the team is on course to qualify with six points out of a possible six. Nigerians will then expect the Super Eagles to win the tournament if it holds next year or whenever it holds. A poor tournament, and Rohr may not get to the 2022 World Cup.
Nigerians are expecting the Super Eagles to win the next AFCON.
The NFF have tied some new conditions to his contract. Signing the contract means he has accepted the conditions. He should therefore use the conditions to his own advantage.
If he is going to be staying in Nigeria more, it means he can monitor the Nigeria Professional Football League more. He should also take charge of the home-based Super Eagles. He can have them together in camp regularly and see if there are some he could really invite to the main team.
Staying in Nigeria more should also be an avenue to get closer to the age-grade teams during their camping for tournaments. He could start seeing some youngsters that could be part of his team in the future.
However, the best of Nigeria’s football talents are not in the NPFL. At least, a simple majority of them. It means, Rohr must still keep tabs with the foreign based players more. He must keep discovering the best Nigerian footballers wherever they are all around the world.
Even the best footballing nations get their best legs into the national team regardless of where they play. Brazil is probably the biggest football nation in the world today but majority of players in the Brazil national team are foreign based.
Rohr should continue to get the best Nigerian footballers into the team.
In line with keeping tabs with foreign based footballers is continuing to identity talented footballers of Nigerian origin. No matter the argument a section of Nigerians have against this, there is nothing wrong with it. Due to emigration, lots of Nigerians are born abroad, it does not make them less Nigerians, especially when they identify with the country.
Algeria won the last AFCON and defeated the Super Eagles on their way, a good number of the players including captain Riyad Mahrez are foreign born players. More Nations are looking for players of their origin to play for them because they know what special talents can add to their team.
Talking about special talents, some special talents of Nigerian origin might be emerging and Rohr must get them to play for Nigeria with 2022 in mind. Bukayo Saka, at just 18, has been one of Arsenal’s players of the ongoing season before it got suspended. Saka is of Nigerian origin and will be a valuable asset to the Super Eagles.
Another emerging special talent is Joshua Orobosa Zirkzee of Bayern Munich. Zirkzee has been a formidable back-up striker for Robert Lewandowski and has performed creditably. He is already on the radar of the Dutch national team manager Ronald Koeman, the earlier Rohr and the NFF acts, the better.
Ebere Eze is also not left out, he looks like a player with a big future ahead of him. Rohr and the NFF should not stop trying to get him to play for the Super Eagles. They should also not stop reaching out to other talented young players of Nigerian origin. The more, the merrier.
Zirkzee has been impressive for Bayern Munich.
By 2022, the Super Eagles should have a strong collection of players that Nigerians should be proud of. It should be a team that has consistently been together for a long time. Players like Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze and the likes should hopefully continue to grow, they should be world class or at least near world class by then.
It is hoped that some hiccups that aren’t unexpected will not be allowed to throw spanners into the works. The NFF and Nigerians should be patient and let Rohr conclude this project. No matter what happens, the NFF should let Rohr see out his present contract.
The practice of replacing coaches at the eve of tournaments should not happen again. It is hoped that by 2022 we will see the result of the years of work Rohr has been doing and a Super Eagles team that will shock the world (not like Bash Ali though).