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NFF suspends programme as Gernot Rohr is held up in France

By Christian Okpara
31 March 2020   |   4:20 am
Super Eagles’ Manager, Gernot Rohr’s plan to return to Nigeria for some of his official engagements has been disrupted by the Coronavirus outbreak, an official of the team...

Super Eagles’ Manager, Gernot Rohr’s plan to return to Nigeria for some of his official engagements has been disrupted by the Coronavirus outbreak, an official of the team has revealed.

Rohr, who is currently in France, was expected to return to Nigeria this month to participate in a series of programmes lined up by one of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) sponsors, but the current embargo on overseas flights to the country has made it impossible for the German to arrive as scheduled.

Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye told The Guardian yesterday that Rohr, who has maintained contact with his players online, will return to the country as soon as the embargo on flights is lifted.

“Rohr was supposed to be part of some programmes organized by NFF sponsors, but that is no longer possible because he cannot come into the country as things are now.

“The restriction on social gatherings and embargo on flights have forced the organisers of these events to suspend them pending when things will return to normal.

“Aside from the programmes, Rohr was also scheduled to meet with the Federation to plan for the African Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers, among other issues, but these have also been put on hold,” Ibitoye said.

Ibitoye revealed that despite the sudden halt to all football activities across the world by COVID-19, the Super Eagles manager has been in constant touch with the players as the world awaits an end to the virus.

“Rohr has been monitoring the players’ training as directed by their various clubs because these programmes will also keep the players fit for Nigeria whenever the qualifiers resume.

“He talks with the players often and knows the physical state even though they are all working from home,” he added.

All the players are at home following the suspension of the European leagues, but Bordeaux winger, Samuel Kalu has been given permission to come to Nigeria in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to allnigeriasoccer.com, French sports daily L’Equipe says Kalu and five other players Francois Kamano (Guinea), Edson Mexer (Mozambique), Vukasin Jovanovic (Serbia), Ruben Pardo (Spain) and Pablo Castro (Brazil) have chosen to leave France.

France is one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus with 40,174 people testing positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, Rohr has been named among Girondins Bordeaux’s top five legendary players by French journalist, Julien Bee.

He was ranked fifth behind Alain Giresse, Edouard Kargu, Ulrich Ramé and René Gallice.

Rohr is Bordeaux’s record appearance holder in the French Ligue 1 over the past fifty years with 352 appearances made before hanging up his boots.

After an illustrious career with Bordeaux, the Franco-German managed the club before he was appointed sporting director.

Explaining why Rohr made the list, Bee told Girondins4Ever: “Gernot Rohr is three times French Champion, he is the most French of the Germans: 84, 85, and 87. 430 matches played for Gernot Rohr with the Girondins, two French Cups (86 and 87) and obviously a semi-final Champions Cup, with a defeat in the second leg against Juventus.

“Bordeaux won 2-0 but lost in the first leg 3-0. This team, at the time, was one of the best in Europe, and there were players within it, which were quite significant.

“Gernot crossed this time with the Girondins. He arrived at the end of the 70s. Even if I decided not to talk about the aftermath, Gernot was also a sports director, coach twice, and notably in the second division when Bordeaux was demoted.

“It must be said, he is an important personality of the club, even today. Even if he is the Nigeria coach, he still has ties with Girondins, always that little belonging.

“He is an essential player, an essential personality in the Girondins de Bordeaux universe. For me, it was not possible not to place it in this Top 5, even if statistically, and in terms of the prize list, it is rather not bad. It is even better in the title than my number 1.”