A winning start for new Super Eagles’ handler, Gernot Rohr today could well win the Franco-German coach some local support as the knives are already out that he will fall flat on his face after his time in Burkina Faso, Niger and Gabon.
Former FIFA chief, Amos Adamu was most critical of the 63-year-old Rohr, warning that the coach will “damage” Nigerian football because he lacks the pedigree.
The growing disapproval of Rohr has not been helped by the fact that he is on a huge $47,000 monthly salary courtesy of a mystery sponsor at a time when other national team coaches have not been paid for several months.
Samson Siasia who led the country’s Olympic team to a bronze medal finish at the Rio 2016 games only last Tuesday on national television tackled Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF), president, Amaju Pinnick, on why the body was able to secure such a massive sponsorship package for Rohr while he (Siasia) was being owed in salaries of several months.
Rohr’s biggest achievement thus far was guiding co-hosts Gabon to the last eight of the 2012 AFCON.
And he has now agreed on the target to lead Nigeria to a sixth World Cup from a difficult-looking qualifying group that has Africa’s top team Algeria, nine-time World Cup finalists Cameroon and 2012 AFCON kings Zambia.
That explained why his first call-ups were the country’s best players even for a dead rubber qualifier after Egypt were runaway winners of this group.
“It’s my mission to qualify Nigeria to Russia 2018,” he said.
“Nigeria have the best players in Africa and I have the German mentality to bring good organisation and discipline to this team.”
The Taifa Stars are still searching for their first win over the Super Eagles after five previous clashes.
The first encounter between the two teams was at the 2nd All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted in 1973, with Nigeria edging the tie 2-1.
In 1980, at the 12th Africa Cup of Nations finals also hosted by Nigeria, the Green Eagles lashed the Taifa Stars 3-1 in the tournament’s opening match.
In the qualifying race for the Spain ’82 FIFA World Cup finals, both teams drew 1-1 at the National Stadium in Lagos, before Nigeria won 2-0 in Dar es Salaam thanks to goals by John Chidozie and Christian Nwokocha.
The Eagles walked over the Taifa Stars in a 1986 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture.