Saturday, December 05, 2020

Gernot Rohr’s turbulent journey as Eagles coach

Gernot Rohr arrived in Nigeria in August 2016 with a reputation as a European coach with a high understanding of African football, having coached Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso previously.

The Franco-German took charge of the Super Eagles at a time the side was witnessing a downturn of fortunes, having missed the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and failing to qualify for the following edition in 2017.

He won his first game in charge, an inconsequential 2017 AFCON qualifier against Tanzania in Uyo and lost his first match 2-0 versus South Africa, a 2018 AFCON qualifier, also in Uyo, in June 2017.

Four months later, Rohr would lead his side to become the first African side to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after a 1–0 win against Zambia in Uyo.

In all, the tactician has guided the national team to 41 matches; winning 20, losing 11, with 10 ending in draws.

Winning 20 games out of 41, almost a 50 per cent result, with a youthful side, made up largely of new faces, isn’t a bad result, some pundits have argued.

But it’s been a topsy-turvy ride for the Eagles coach, with his team’s inconsistent showings giving the country’s football-crazy fans and enthusiasts cause for concern.

The most recent was fluffing a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 against Sierra Leone in a 2021 AFCON qualifier in Benin City November 13.

Rohr’s team endured yet another frustrating outing in the reverse fixture versus their West African foes four days later, which ended goalless at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown.

Both results against the Leone Stars meant the Eagles failed to win a single game in a calendar year, which sparked calls for the sack of Rohr. Punch

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