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Eagles’ 2019 AFCON squad 69 per cent ready, says Rohr


Nigeria’s forward Paul Onuachu reacts to the referee during a friendly football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stephen Keshi Stadium in the Asaba on March 26, 2019. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

No room for new invitees, door still open for Iheanacho
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr is on the final lap of preparations for the Egypt 2019 African Nations Cup and he wants everybody involved in the process to get serious. Among part of the process that has been concluded, according to Rohr, is identification of possible players for the competition.

Speaking after Tuesday’s friendly match against Egypt at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Rohr said he has chosen 69 per cent of the players he will need to succeed at the Nations Cup, adding that the rest will come from a pool that has been working with him for the past three years.

Expressing his delight with the performance of the new players in his squad, the Franco-German said things were gradually falling to shape, adding that the older members of the team know that they would only retain their positions if they worked hard.


He said there was no more room for experiments with fresh players, adding that the time was too short to try new players. He, however, disclosed that some players, who were not invited to the last game, including Kelechi Iheanacho, still had the opportunity to stake their claim to the team.

“They will be made to compete for shirts with other players. If they satisfied the coaches they will be in Egypt.

“I am not under any form of pressure because I have enough young and quality players to pick from. The main philosophy guiding the Eagles now is team spirit and the hunger to excel in every game. These have been reflecting in the Eagles’ international engagements since the team lost against Argentina in the last group game of the 2018 World Cup.

“In the friendly against Egypt, Odion Ighalo despite still recuperating from injury wanted to get into the pitch to help his teammates. This is the kind of commitment that keeps the team going,” he said.

Rohr said he was looking forward to the next FIFA window in June, adding, “We are looking forward to another quality friendly. Defeating Egypt does not mean the Eagles will win the AFCON because there are other tough teams in Africa.

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