Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr recently sat down with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Media and the German manager bares his thoughts on his team’s preparations for the South Africa game tonight, the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 and more.
Below is the transcript of the interview as obtained by Concise News.
Rohr’s rating of AFCON 2019 so far
Yes, it’s a very good tournament. The big teams are all here. And then, you see the round of the last 16, you see only good teams. And you have the surprises. When you think that this team is favourite and will win against a supposed weak team, you have the surprise. Like the Morocco game against Benin. Like Egypt’s loss to South Africa.
So you can say that a lot of surprises are here. And it’s not easy for the best teams to show that they are really the best teams.
For the moment, we have Senegal, who is one of the favourites. But already, the favourites are out – Cameroon, Egypt and Morocco. I’m sure that there will be other surprises in this tournament.
Impression with the standard of play so far
The First Round is a lot of game with only one goal, or 0-0. There was one matchday with three 0-0. This is a disappointment for people who like football with goals.
Fortunately, we did one night against Cameroon with five goals. I think this was perhaps was one of the most spectacular matches. And the level is very high. Everybody is very prepared, especially in the first games.
When you see Zimbabwe or Burundi in the first game, they are very strong. And then later, they can have problems. The level is more and more equal now. And it’s very difficult to make high scores. There was only one, I think from Mali. But all the other scores are very close.
More work to be done by Super Eagles players?
Of course, we saw it already against Madagascar. Two individual mistakes on the goals. Gifts. So now, the moment has come not to make gifts. And we have to be more disciplined. We have to be more committed in the defensive job.
Sometimes, I think there is a lack of communication between our players. So we must be better in this department.
Super Eagles Prepared for South Africa?
At first, I’m happy we have the VAR now. Because until now, we don’t have any problem with the referees. We have to recognise that I didn’t see any scandal.
Now, with the VAR, especially for the offsides, its a help for the referees. We need the VAR for the fouls, for the penalties, or for some mistakes of the referee that can happen.
Victor Osimhen, Henry Onyekuru and co. to feature?
We played already with 18 players, from 23, which is already good. I hope that we can see other players also. We saw already [Samuel] Chukwueze. We saw Paul Onuachu. We saw [Samuel] Kalu. It’s not easy to play everybody also. I’m waiting for some of them that they show more commitment to the training session.