Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Gernot Rohr

"The Super Eagles of Nigeria, have a bright future and can realise their immediate and long term ambitions, given the correct developmental environment." Cyril C. Nwokeji

"Perfection isn't a characteristic of humans, notwithstanding the fact we strive towards it!" Cyril C. Nwokeji

he debate on the fate of the Super Eagles' coach is becoming an interesting one. Even before the end of the AFCON tournament, some critics, some of them ex-internationals, had started calling for his exit as coach of the Super Eagles.

Yours sincerely has carefully read and analysed those critical remarks. But up till this point in time, one generally, hasn't found their arguments convincing. Some of those critical remarks may have some descent measure of merit, while the others range from the sublime to the ridicule! Some of the critics want him out purely for what yours sincerely calls, "soccer nationalistic" reasons! In other words, his country of origin is a problem to those critics. Those critics prefer a Nigeria-born coach in his stead!

To those "soccer nationalistic" critics, yours sincerely wonders: When did Nigeria decide to sacrifice her senior soccer interests on the altar of nationalistic considerations? When did it become a sin to be coached by a non-Nigerian, at the highest levels of soccer? Or has Nigeria become the first country on earth to "nationalise" her senior men's national team's coaching job (Super Eagles' coaching job)?

In modern soccer, teams go for the best at any given time, in terms of appointment of a soccer coach. They go for the best, also taking into consideration their budget! And when a team wins, the glory goes to the country of the team and not the foreign coaches' country of birth/origin.

Given this modern thinking in soccer, why do some critics, in their blind desire to get out Coach Rohr, want to take us back to the 'stone ages'?

Some of these critics, even ridiculously suggested that Coach Rohr lacks charisma, and self-confidence. And even frowned at the fact that Coach Rohr, doesn't exhibit a lot of emotions during the course of Super Eagles' matches, in a way, according to them, that gives a so called "12th man" advantage to the Super Eagles.

Do those critics realise that nowadays, some soccer governing bodies frown at such uncontrolled exhibition of emotions on the part of coaches? This is the reason some soccer governing bodies fine the emotional coaches who go too far in reacting to their team's fortunes on the field of play! There was the case of a Belgian coach that is reputed for such excessive exhibition of emotions during the course of matches involving his teams. When he signed to a coach a team in the Netherlands, he had a clause in his contract that stipulated the termination of his contract, whenever he strayed way out of line!

A coach doesn't need to be too emotional during the course of matches involving his team, but can gently dish out instructions to the boys; which Coach Rohr does all the time. Some coaches don't even react actively during the course of matches involving their teams, but sit down quietly to observe the matches and during the half time, make the necessary corrections. It has not been proven that those "quieter" coaches are less successful than the so called more "active" coaches!

As earlier mentioned, some of the criticisms against Coach Rohr, have a decent measure of merit : his sometimes questionable tactical choices, his delayed reaction to changing match situations, the lack of cohesion on the part of the Super Eagles and so on.

No one says that Coach Rohr is a perfect coach; there are no perfect coaches. As a matter of fact, perfection isn't a characteristic of humans, notwithstanding the fact we strive towards it! Coach Rohr, as a matter of fact, isn't an absolutely top coach. But in wanting the best for the Super Eagles in terms of coaching, do we need to break the Nigerian central bank to bring the likes of coaches: Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Arsene Wenger and so on to coach Nigeria? Of course no; doing that could bring about social upheaval in our country. However, be that as it may, Coach Rohr, taking all realistic factors into consideration: his record on the job, his objectivity, his exposure as coach, his standards vis-a-viz the Nigerian coaches, the budget of the NFF and their sponsors, is still the best for Nigeria, at this time!

Coach Rohr has done quite well on the job so far. He inherited a Super Eagles' team that was in 'tatters' in 2016 : having failed to qualify for two consecutive Nations' cup tournaments, in 2015 and 2017 ; and faced with a 2018 World cup qualification 'group of death', with two former and a reigning African champion; set about rebuilding the Super Eagles and with success for that matter, in the face of the herculean task he was confronted with. When told about the "condition sin qua non" for his contract as Super Eagles' coach: qualification for the 2018 World cup competition in Russia, didn't shy away from the challenge, but affirmed his faith not only in the World cup qualification but in Nigeria's qualification for the later stages of the World cup competition. The first part of his belief was met with distinction, as Nigeria qualified for Russia'2018 with a match to spare; the second part wasn't met, but all and sundry admitted the fact the "young" Super Eagles team did quite well, in Russia, taking into consideration their relative inexperience and the challenges they faced!

The bronze medal obtained in Egypt is good enough; considering the team's status: a young team; eighteen of the twenty-three players are twenty-five years old or younger ; twenty of the twenty-three players debuted at the 2019 Nations' cup competition! The Super Eagles are the third best team in Africa, and with a good chance of being Africa's best in 2021!

And more over, Coach Rohr has supervised 36 matches involving the Super Eagles, at African and World stages. He won 20 matches, drew 7 matches and lost 9 matches. This gives 56 percent success to him as coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Is that a bad record? Me thinks no!

In conclusion, the critics who want Coach Rohr out, should reflect carefully on their opinion with regards Coach Rohr, they should not try to rock the boat!


Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "EGYPT 2019" !!!!!


The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through : nwokeji.cyril@gmail.com Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary