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Okala faults Rohr’s attitude to home-based players

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Emmanuel Okala

Former international, Emmanuel Okala, has expressed disappointment over Coach Gernot Rohr’s refusal to attend Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) match to scout for players for the national team. Okala is particularly worried that the German prefers Europe-based rookies for the goalkeeping department when there are tested shot-stoppers in the Nigerian league.

Okala, who described as strange the current national team coach’s approach to team selection, said Rohr has deviated from the route taken by his predecessors like Father Tiko, Otto Gloria and Clemens Westerhof, who, he said, encouraged home-based goalkeepers to develop into international stars.

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Speaking to The Guardian at the weekend, Okala said in an ideal situation, home-based players should form the bedrock of the country’s national team, adding that it is a shame that the country has resorted to begging players of Nigerian descent rejected by other countries to represent the Super Eagles.

“Has Coach Gernot Rohr ever gone round the league venues to watch our domestic league players know whether we have good goalkeepers or not? He has not. Let’s not deceive ourselves.

“Rohr took rookies he did not know to go and learn how to keep at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Where is that one done anywhere in the world? And we allow him to go on like that experimenting with goalkeepers at every tournament. Why would he continue like that?

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“Up till now, Nigeria does not have a standard national team and he has been building our team since he took over. I don’t know how many years it will take him to build a team for us. But he keeps changing players and you media are not saying anything,” he said.

Okala added: “This is not the way we played in the national team and nobody wants to talk. Rohr is not doing any good for our national team. Let him get us a standard national team and stop building a team till thy kingdom come.”

“We should be serious for once; to put it straight, the standard of the goalkeepers Rohr has been using is very low. We should not be fooling ourselves because how do you go into a competition still trying players? I think once there is a competition, you bring out your best rather than test-running a team,” he said.

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