I Pick Only The Best Players – Gernot Rohr


Oma Akatugba

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr released a 25-man squad last week as the Nigerian senior national team are set to battle the Desert Foxes of Algeria and the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia. Ahead of the friendlies slated for Austria, Rohr has invited new players into the squad including five new players earning a callup for the first time.

The new players invited were; Matthew Yakubu from (SLK Sered), Samson Tijani (Hartberg), Frank Onyeka (Midjtylland), Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto), and Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow). In an interview with Daily Times, Rohr had intimated he will invite only the best players to the squad for every game. While some Nigerians have disagreed with some of his selections, and for his non-inclusion of home-based players, the coach explained why they may not get a look-in.

There are also insinuations that agents have a hand in the selection of players for the national team, a claim the coach rebuffed immediately. ”With the experience I have, I don’t have any problem (with agents). They all know I have nothing to do with money and all of that means there’s no influence possible, no pressure. I only take the best ones.

”I speak with my staff, picking players causes a lot of arguments, I speak with my assistant coaches, medical staff and I make my choice. Agents don’t influence my choice. On what players need to do to make the team; ”They need to play, be in the CHAN team which is at first the A-team of Nigerian players. They need to show quality. Coach of the CHAN team is my assistant and together we take players. We’ve taken more than 22 or 23 from CHAN but immediately after they sign in Europe. That’s why there’s a big pressure. Everybody wants to make money, bring them to the Super Eagles because professional clubs in Europe and Asia will see them. At first, you have to play well. I have had Ezenwa in my list, he did well in the country and in the CHAN team and so many others who are everywhere in the world. There are so many others who have done well. Problem is they aren’t playing for a long time to find the rhythm and the infrastructures are very bad. There are no good playing conditions. It’s not easy for the players on synthetic pitches and with long travels. ”I look at the U-20 all the time and I have the best ones from them with me to give them motivation, the chance.

I have the U-17 captain now in Salzburg, Samson Tijani. He’s on Hartberg on loan and they are in Europe. I’ll also follow what he’s doing. ”We are in touch with these young players. This is the future. The right thing is to choose the best and of course, help the future by giving a chance to the young.”

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