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Knocks for Rohr over Ighalo’s recall to Super Eagles

By Gowon Akpodonor
03 November 2021   |   4:15 am
Former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu, has said the decision by coach Gernot Rohr to recall Saudi Arabia-based Odion Ighalo to the Super Eagles is a clear indication that Nigeria is not focused in developing football.

Ighalo celebrates a goal for Al Shabab in Saudi Arabia Photo: Goal.com

• Don’t use national team to re-launch ailing soccer career, says Adelabu
Former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu, has said the decision by coach Gernot Rohr to recall Saudi Arabia-based Odion Ighalo to the Super Eagles is a clear indication that Nigeria is not focused in developing football.

Adelabu queried: “If Ighalo had not been invited for the past two years, what is he doing now that is different from what he used to do?”

Rohr included Ighalo, who retired from the national team two years ago, in the list of players for Nigeria’s closing Group C games of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African race against Liberia and Cape Verde this month.

The Super Eagles will tackle the Lone Star of Liberia at the Grand Stade Tangier in Morocco on November 13 and then come to Lagos for the final group game against Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on November 16.

The decision to bring back Ighalo and left out Germany-based Taiwo Awoniyi, who is one of Nigeria’s best strikers in mainstream European football with seven goals in 10 matches, is giving many Nigerians a great concern. A lot of football analysts are of the opinion that the Saudi league, where Ighalo plies his soccer trade is a retirement venture for most players.

Adelabu, who played club football with the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, said: “The national team should not be used for the purpose of helping a player to re-launch his ailing soccer career. The fact that the NFF feels it is not accountable to anyone should not be a licence for the coach to treat our national integrity with disrespect in the way he manages our national team.

“The question is when are we going to have a stable national team with clear tactical and strategic approach to the game?
How can we employ a coach that cannot be questioned on the rational behind his philosophy? Who are the coaches gaining from his approach and style? If he goes away, what is it that he impacted on the national team other than selecting a group of players from around the world to entertain the soccer fans and using every available means to get results.”

Adelabu, a sports scientist said: “They know that all we want is to win no matter how. I hope one day we will get it right.

“If a player left the team for such a long time, it is a shame that the coach had not been able to find and train a good replacement for Igahlo.

“We cannot rule out the fact that he may even score when he is fielded, but the question is, should we continue like this? What is happening to the array of good home- based players? The government should do something now.”