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Nigeria coach Rohr under fire after scraping into World Cup playoffs

By AFP
17 November 2021   |   1:24 pm
Nigeria's Super Eagles may have qualified for the final playoffs of the 2022 World Cup, but another unconvincing display sparked calls on Wednesday for coach Gernot Rohr to be fired.

Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr looks on during the FIFA 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cape verde at the Surulere Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on November 16, 2021. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Nigeria’s Super Eagles may have qualified for the final playoffs of the 2022 World Cup, but another unconvincing display sparked calls on Wednesday for coach Gernot Rohr to be fired.

Despite including most of their top Europe-based players, Nigeria laboured to a 1-1 home draw with Cape Verde on Tuesday to squeeze through to the playoffs slated for the end of March next year.

The current qualifying campaign for the World Cup in Qatar falls far short of the commanding performance the three-time African champions displayed on their way to reaching the 2018 World Cup from a tougher looking group that contained Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.

Even after Nigeria were docked three points and three goals for fielding an ineligible player, they still qualified for Russia 2018 with a round of matches still to be played.

In contrast the draw against Cape Verde, ranked 40 places below Nigeria in the FIFA rankings, meant the Super Eagles scraped through from a group that included minnows Central African Republic and Liberia.

Former Nigerian international and TV pundit Idah Peterside said 68-year-old German Rohr was not the man to lead the team at either the Africa Cup of Nations in January or the World Cup qualifying playoffs after that.

“Nigeria must fire Rohr,” he said. “He has lost the team, he has taken us as far as he can go.

“Please NFF, let him go now.”

Sports analyst Iniobong Monday said: “This team do not inspire any sort of confidence. They are not looking good, the team are in a bad place.”

“The team lack a game plan, lack a direction as the coach has run out of ideas”, he said.

“We will not qualify for the World Cup should we be unlucky to be drawn against one of the top teams in the final playoffs in March,” he said.

NFF president Amaju Pinnick, who has stoutly defended Rohr, said a year ago that the federation would have to pay a fee of $2 million to terminate his contract.

Rohr, who has also coached Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso and is on a monthly salary of $45,000, was appointed in August 2016 and has overseen Nigeria in 64 matches, of which he has won 35.