Can Rohr salvage reputation with Super Eagles experimentation?


Before the swathe of withdrawals, the German already planned to try out new players, but does this bode well for the future?

One of the criticisms thrown at Gernot Rohr has been in his rigid approach and unwillingness to fix what isn’t necessarily broken.

That modus operandi isn’t bad in itself, but there’s always a danger in sitting on one’s hands, expecting the individuals on the pitch to find solutions to in-game hurdles.

The German boss got an earful for Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup elimination by Argentina for his basic game management, despite Odion Ighalo missing a huge chance that could have made sure of the Super Eagles’ progress.

In the 4-4 draw vs Sierra Leone last year, the 67-year-old was reprimanded for an inability to effectively help his team across the line as they lost a four-goal lead on home turf.

Again, the experienced coach’s inadequacies were the refrain, although others chose to censure the players for not taking enough responsibility after half-time.

Having said that, the biggest criticism that typifies Rohr’s approach has been an inclination to lean on a select group regardless of their form and performances. It prompted complaints from Nigerians following the continued call-ups for Elderson Echiejile and Ogenyi Onazi in the past, while the German’s Ahmed Musa bias has been unmistakable.

Ogenyi Onazi

In the same vein, the unwillingness to extend an olive branch to Anthony Nwakaeme — hasn’t played for Nigeria since November 2017 — and Simy — last Super Eagles appearance came in 2018 — for so long, despite their generally good performances for Trabzonspor and Crotone respectively beggared belief.

Be that as it may, the German surprised observers by including the towering Crotone forward in the initial 31-player list for this month’s Cameroon friendly having, more or less, ruled out every possibility weeks earlier due to being contracted to the lowly Pythagoreans.

At the time, Goal looked into the possibility of a different approach to facing the Indomitable Lions, by leaving out established forwards like Victor Osimhen and Kelechi Iheanacho in favour of either uncapped or returning players like Simy.