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Rohr’s sack campaign capable of distracting Super Eagles, Ekpo warns


Nigeria’s German coach Gernot Rohr / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

• Third place, final matches take centre stage on SuperSport
Former Super Eagles Star, Friday Ekpo has warned that the campaign for the sack of Coach Gernot Rohr on the eve of the African Cup of Nations third place match could destabilise the players before the game.

Nigeria will meet Tunisia in the third place match of the competition today in Cairo.

Following Nigeria’s semifinal defeat by Algeria at the weekend, many Super Eagles’ fans have started calling for Rohr’s sack, accusing him of being responsible for the loss to the Desert Foxes.

But Ekpo sees the negative side of the campaign, saying the call for the Franco-German’s sack should not be the paramount thing now because the Eagles need to be 100 per cent focused to return home with the Nations cup bronze medal.


Ekpo said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) should only review Rohr’s performance after the championship, adding that sacking him now before the end of the competition would be a hasty decision.

The former Shell of Gabon FC player also advised the NFF to compel Rohr to reside in Nigeria and pick players from the domestic league if he was retained for the job.

He advised that Rohr should not be allowed to come into the country two weeks to a major championship and invite only overseas-based players to camp without developing their domestic counterparts.

Ekpo also maintained that Nigeria has quality players that could be nurtured to stardom if the right structures were put in place to develop the Nigerian league.

“The people calling for Rohr’s sack should desist from it now. They should allow the Eagles finish the AFCON on a winning note.

“The NFF are Rohr’s employers and they are in the right position to take the right step. For me, if Rohr will remain as Super Eagles coach, he needs to be made to stay in Nigeria and work with the domestic players.

“If the Eagles had won the Nations Cup, it would not have been the true reflection of Nigeria’s football development.

“I see no reason why NFF, who employed Rohr and also runs the domestic league, cannot instruct the Super Eagles coach to develop players at the home front.

“Ikechukwu Ezinwa is the only goalkeeper from the NPFL that was invited to the Eagles camp in the ongoing AFCON. Does it mean our league can only produce one goalkeeper and no quality players?

“Madagascar and Algerian national teams paraded mostly domestic players that defeated the Super Eagles. Is this not a clear pointer that domestic players have something to offer?” he queried.

Ekpo also advised the NFF to dissociate itself from news making the rounds that the body would send Rohr for a refresher course abroad, saying such action is geared towards wasting government funds.

“He has a contract with the NFF. He is paid salaries and so if he decides to go for a coaching programme on his own accord so be it; but not on the expense of the NFF. I think the rumour is false,” he added

Meanwhile, Multichoice Nigeria has disclosed that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final between Senegal and Algeria on Friday, as well as today’s third place-off between Tunisia and Nigeria will be aired live on DStv and GOtv.

The matches will kick off by 8.00 p.m. Nigerian time on SuperSport 7 and 10 to DStv subscribers and on SuperSport
Select 2 and 4 to GOtv Max and Plus subscribers.

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