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Angry Nigerians Turn On NFF, Rohr After Eagles Lacklustre Display

Dejected Super Eagles walk off the pitch at half time during their AFCON 2022 qualifier against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Benin City

Without doubt, most Nigerian football fans are angry at the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, the Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr and his players who only recently put up a shambolic display in the 2022 AFCON qualifier against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

Prior to the first leg of the 2022 AFCON qualifier last Friday in Benin City, Nigerian football fans hoped that their beloved national team with an array of foreign based players would return to winning ways, as they had lost one and drawn one match, in their recent friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia in Austria.

True to their expectations, the Super Eagles started brilliantly against the Leone Stars as they led by four goals before half time. Unfortunately, the joy of Nigerians was short-lived as the three-time African champions surrendered the solid lead to draw 4-4 in Benin City.

As the fans fiercely criticised the team, the president of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick too didn’t hide his frustration and disappointment, as in tears, he said the result was the worst since he became the federation’s boss.

It’s football, definitely, it’s football, it can go either way, but what happened to us? Were we complacent? Were we just so comfortable that we were leading 4-0 and all of a sudden, the goals started coming in?

At the end of the day, nobody is going to call your name everybody is the coach and Amaju Pinnick (they’ll call), that is the truth. But unfortunately, he (Gernot Rohr) was not on the pitch, I wasn’t the one on the pitch. I saw the reaction of your captain. After they scored the fourth goal, I shed tears for the first time in a long time,

he said while speaking to journalists.

While the NFF president ‘chided’ the sloppy Super Eagles, Nigerians were served videos of some of his board members, in fact some NFF chieftains, who were in a joyous mood in Kano, dancing and winning at the wedding ceremony of the son of one of their own, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya Sheriff, same time the Super Eagles were battling for life against the Leone Stars.

For the aggrieved Nigerian football fans, this was rubbing salt into their wounds as they questioned why such highly placed stakeholders ‘absconded’ from duty. The behaviour of the NFF chieftains was instantly attributed to existing cracks in the football federation.

Although the return leg in Freetown offered the Super Eagles and their manager a chance to atone for the disappointing performance in Benin City, the match on Tuesday ended in a barren draw, infuriating the fans the more.

The 0-0 draw in Freetown has kept the Super Eagles on top of Group L with eight points but Nigerians would have been happier, if their team had qualified with at least a match spare.

The position of such Nigerians is understandable considering that some of the powerhouses in African football like Senegal, Tunisia and Mali have already qualified for the 2022 continental showpiece.

Therefore, most Nigerians who spoke on the recent performances of the Super Eagles expressed nothing but disappointment and total dismay at the technical ineptitude of the Franco-German coach.

A member of the 2013 AFCON winning Super Eagles, Juwon Oshaniwa while speaking to Trust Sports shortly after the debacle in Benin City said Rohr is poor tactically just as he added that the former Gabonese coach lacks game management.

It’s not a good result for the Super Eagles, after going 4-0 up in the opening 30minutes. Rohr didn’t manage the match properly. We were not supposed to share the points on our soil.

The coach should do better as we have all the right players needed to get the right results. I played with Ahmed Musa and I know he is a living legend. Rohr’s assistant, Joseph Yobo can bring his wealth of experience to bear.

A veteran sports journalist, Patrick Omorodion was more critical of Rohr as he didn’t mince words while questioning the technical ability of the coach.

So it will take this man eternity to build a solid team for Nigeria? His slogan has been that the national team is a work in progress.

Keshi, with a lower pay didn’t take this long to win the Nations Cup, yet he was sacked. How long more are we going to allow this man to continue to ruin our football?,

he asked.

For another former Super Eagles striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Rohr is one of the worst coaches in Nigeria’s football history.

Aiyegbeni also said that some Super Eagles players are not supposed to be part of the team because they are not good enough.

The coach is not good enough, let him go. Some of the boys are not good enough. I don’t know where they are bringing them from. Who is inviting these players?

Our football is getting worse every day. When I was there, people criticized us, but we’re way better than these ones,

Aiyegbeni told Lagos Talks FM.

Another former Super Eagles player, Eugene Agagbe, is however, blaming the woes of the Super Eagles on NFF for reappointing Rohr as coach of the national team.

The NFF is to be blamed as they are the one causing problems for Nigerian football. Rohr has spent almost 5 years and I don’t see what he has done to remain in that seat. He has not given us anything that should make him remain there.

Look at Late Stephen Keshi who spent just three and half years but was able to win the Nations Cup and also qualify us for the 2014 World Cup.

Rohr’s contract at this point should be terminated. With the kind of players we have, we should not be counting points but be leading with 7 points ahead,

he told Trust Sports.

However, Chairman of Katsina State Football Association and member of the NFF Committee, Alhaji Aminu Balele Kurfi is of the opinion that Rohr should be allowed to conclude the qualifiers with the Super Eagles.

He also called on all football stakeholders to unite to ensure that Nigeria qualify for the 2022 AFCON.

I don’t want to believe there are cracks in the NFF. Everything that is happening is about 2022 NFF elections. But we shouldn’t be playing politics now that we need to unite to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

For me, the gathering in Kano on a day the Super Eagles had a very important qualifier was not necessary. It didn’t show enough patriotism,

he said.

Despite the disappointing results, the Super Eagles are now one win away from a place at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, making the trip to Cotonou in March 2021 a tricky fixture as failure to win would see Nigeria walking a tightrope.

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