The Nigeria Football Federation has endorsed a proposal by its Technical and Development sub-committee for the appointment of Portuguese manager Jose Peseiro as the new head coach of the Super Eagles.
His appointment follows the sacking of Gernot Rohr earlier this month.
The executive committee of the NFF has, however, resolved that the interim head coach Augustine Eguavoen will be in charge of the three-time African champions for the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon while coach Peseiro will serve as an observer.
The NFF says the tournament will be a good avenue for Peseiro to launch a working relationship with Eguavoen, who will revert to his role as technical director of the NFF after the AFCON.
The 61-year-old was in charge of the Venezuela national team until August and has also coached Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, and Al Ahly of Egypt.
Meanwhile, the executive committee has mandated the Technical and Development Committee and the NFF secretariat to organise a friendly match for the Super Eagles when the team arrives in Garoua for the AFCON 2021.
They have also been mandated to arrange matches for the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons in the upcoming FIFA windows.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has explained why the nation’s football governing body sacked Gernot Rohr as Super Eagles coach.
In an interview with Channels Television on Monday, he said the NFF took the decision as a proactive step to avert a disaster.
“He (Rohr) happens to be the longest-serving manager of the Super Eagles. We gave him all the support,” said Pinnick who was a guest on Sunrise Daily. “But we didn’t want to wait for a disaster to happen before parting ways. The last two games were very tough games for us.
“It wasn’t an individual decision; it was a collective decision by the entire executive committee. We were winning our games … there are a lot of things we took into cognisance. When you part ways, you don’t want to start ascribing blames; you just let it go and face the future with renewed hope and renewed zeal.”
The NFF president disclosed that the body considered some reports of its committees before sacking the German who managed the Nigerian side for five years.
He stated that Nigeria almost lost the ticket for the forthcoming World Cup, adding that a lot of factors were considered before the decision was taken.
Pinnick also confirmed that the NFF was owing Rohr for some months, saying the lack of discipline among the players was one of the major setbacks in the team.
“We did everything that we could, but one major factor was that discipline in the team is lost practically. In the dressing room, discipline in the team was at its lowest edge and once you remove discipline, that foundation in the team has cracked,” he said.
“Players now talk back at you, players believe that they are indispensable. A lot of factors that will now militate against the team. We are only owing about two matches of all the matches they played in both AFCON qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers.
“For Gernot Rohr, I know we paid him for about five months. We were owing him for a couple of months, then we cleared about five months.”
The Nigeria Football Federation has terminated the contract of Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr and appointed ex-international, Augustine Eguavoen, currently it’s Technical Director, as the Technical Adviser on an interim basis.
Eguavoen’s appointment is with immediate effect, and ends the NFF’s relationship with Franco-German Gernot Rohr, who has been in charge of the three-time African champions for the past 64 months and is Nigeria’s longest-serving manager.
Following a virtual meeting of the NFF Executive Committee on Sunday, it was decided that Eguavoen will work with Salisu Yusuf (Chief Coach); Paul Aigbogun (Assistant Coach); Joseph Yobo (Assistant Coach); Dr Terry Eguaoje (Assistant Coach) and Aloysius Agu (Goalkeeper Trainer). Former Nigeria captains Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Garba Lawal have been appointed to provide technical and ambassadorial support for the crew.
“The relationship between the Nigeria Football Federation and Mr Rohr has come to an end. We thank him for his services to the Super Eagles and Nigeria,” NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said.
“We also want to thank the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for their collaboration and guidance all through.”
Eguavoen, a former Nigeria captain, was coach of the squad when it finished in third place at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2006. He was on-field captain when the Super Eagles lifted the Africa Cup for the first time on away ground, in Tunisia 27 years ago.
He will now take charge of the team as it begins preparations for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon 9th January – 6th February 2022, and until the appointment of a substantive head coach.
Nigeria leads the group after five matches with 12 points while Cape Verde follows closely with 10 points, and that explains the importance of the encounter in Lagos.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa has assured Nigerians that the Super Eagles are mature enough to deal with any pressure when taking on the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in today’s crucial game of Group C of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying African series.
After a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Liberia in Tangier, the former Leicester City forward confirmed the team has the right mindset to execute the mission.
“There will always be all kinds of pressure when you are out there on the football field, as a professional sportsman or woman,” said Musa. “You just must have strong fibre to cope with the pressure from everywhere, focus on getting the result and get the job done.
“Pressure is never an excuse not to put out your best; sometimes, it helps you to get beyond your level best.”
Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr has selected captain Ahmed Musa, deputy captain William Ekong and homeboys John Noble and Anayo Iwuala as part of the squad that will battle five-time African champions Cameroon in a friendly match in Austria next week Friday.
The list also has goalkeepers Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho, defenders Ola Aina and Chidozie Awaziem, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Abdullahi Shehu, and forwards Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Simy Nwankwo,
Turkey-based former U20 defender Valentine Ozornwafor, Denmark –based midfielder Frank Onyeka and Lorient FC of France’s Terem Moffi are also included.
Nigeria, who have won the Africa Cup of Nations three times but have been beaten by Cameroon in the final of the competition on three other occasions, defeated the Indomitable Lions 3-0 in a friendly in Belgium in October 2015, and yet to lose to the Lions in regulation time since a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Yaounde on 27th August 1989.
THE FULL LIST
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (APOEL Nicosia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Three Nigerian players based in France have missed training at the gym in Lagos ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers games against Lesotho and Benin Republic on March 27 and 30.
This is according to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, who briefed journalists while the players had a light training session on Monday in preparation for the matches.
He revealed that the affected players in Europe would be absent following the COVID-19 restriction imposed by the French government.
A third of France’s population was under a new partial lockdown Saturday to stop the spread of COVID-19, as some European countries resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations following an all-clear from EU regulators and the WHO.
The pandemic is still speeding up worldwide, with the number of new global coronavirus infections rising by 14 per cent over the last week compared to the previous week.
Rohr explained that although he expects more players, he would replace the absentees with local players from Enyimba.
“Some of our players could not come because of the (COVID-19) restrictions, especially the players playing in France. They are not allowed to come,” he said.
“We are missing our three players from the list. We have to replace them so I found some local players to replace these people.”
The three local players are Enyimba goalkeeper John Noble and striker Anayo Iwuala alongside Abia Warriors defender Adeleke Adekunle have been summoned to the Super Eagles’ set-up for the first time.
The coach also supervised the gym work-out with the early arrivals that include captain of the team Ahmed Musa, Assistant Captain, William Troosk-Ekong, Ola Aina, Semi Ajayi, Henry Onyekuru, and Oghenekaro Etebo.
Nigeria currently tops the Group E log with eight points (one ahead of Benin Republic and five more than third-placed Sierra Leone).
The Eagles will tackle the Squirrels at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on Saturday, March 27, and will lock horns with the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos three days later. Both are the concluding games of the AFCON qualifying series.
The Super Eagles were on Tuesday forced to a barren draw by Sierra Leone in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier, a development that ensured the three-time African champions ended 2020 without a win.
In the reverse fixture of the encounter played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City on Friday, Gernot Rohr’s men threw away a 4-0 lead, managing a 4-4 draw.
“So we are doing everything in training and in the meeting, we will do, we will see again everything in the video, speak about the mistakes and I’m sure they will react because I know my team, I know what we can do, they showed it in the first half,” coach Gernot Rohr said in an interview on the Super Eagles YouTube channel.
Despite vowing to beat the Leone Stars, Nigeria’s attack could not breakdown the Sierra Leonean defence. A Kelechi Iheanacho goal was, however, flagged down for offside.
Nigeria sit at the top of the Group L standing in the qualifier for the competition in spite of the draw.
An Unfruitful Year?
The Sierra Leone game is the 2013 AFCON champions’ fourth match for the year. They lost one of them and drew three.
They began the year with back-to-back friendly matches against Tunisia and Algeria. Both games were played in October at the Jacques Lemans Arena in Austria.
Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has invited Ahmed Musa, William Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo, and 21 others for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying quick-fire double against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.
Defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun and Chidozie Awaziem, midfielder Alex Iwobi, and forwards Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze and Chidera Ejuke, were among the players invited.
Nigeria’s leading goalscorer in the series, Victor Osimhen returns after missing out of the friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia, same as midfielder Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, and South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
Switzerland –based goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe will hope to earn his first cap for Nigeria, while defenders Kevin Akpoguma and Zaidu Sanusi, who impressed in the friendlies in Austria, have been handed opportunities to add to their caps.
There are seven players on standby, including defender Abdullahi Shehu, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, midfielders Ramon Azeez and Samson Tijani, and forward Paul Onuachu.
The Super Eagles take on the Leone Stars at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City on Friday, 13th November before flying to Freetown for the return game on November 17 at the Siaka Stevens Stadium.
Players are expected to report in Benin City on Monday, November 9.
Victory in both encounters will guarantee Nigeria a slot at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finals scheduled to take place in Cameroon.
See the full list of the invited players below:
Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Sebastian Osigwe (FC Lugano, Switzerland); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Germany).
Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasaray, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Unattached); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure (Club Brugge, Belgium); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia).
Maduka Okoye who made his debut for Nigeria in a 2-2 draw against Brazil in October 2019, and Matthew Yakubu, are among the three goalkeepers invited for the games.
Expectedly, Napoli forward Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, and captain Ahmed Musa, were also handed a call up for the tune-up fixtures.
Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is also among the players invited for the matches after he was dropped for the Nigerian team that came third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
Tyronne Ebuehi who is back after a long injury lay-off is on standby alongside AS Monaco’s Henry Onyekuru and others.
FULL LIST OF EAGLES INVITEES FOR TUNISIA, IVORY COAST GAMES
Dele Alampasu (FK Ventspils, Latvia); Matthew Yakubu (SKF Sered, Slovakia); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has said nobody dictates to him the players to pick for the team’s matches.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) last week handed the German coach a fresh two-year contract after the expiration of his last deal with the West African nation.
While speaking on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sports This Morning, Rohr said he critically looks at players before inviting them to feature for the three-time African champions.
“It is not a part of my contract to take players who are not so good,” the former Niger Republic coach said. “I can choose my players myself. It is the most important [thing]. So, nobody can tell me ‘You have to pick this one or that one.’”
He explained that he does the selection of players in consultation with his technical crew and that the best footballers will always be picked for matches irrespective of where they ply their trade.
“I can take the best players and I don’t do it alone,” he added. “We have a team and our staff.
“I have my assistant, I have my analyzer; each Monday we have our meetings and we speak about the games played at the weekend and what our players did. We have to take the best ones no matter where they are coming from.”
Also, he said he signed a new deal with Nigeria because he has not completed his mission with the team which he described as young.
According to him, there is a whole lot to be done to make the Eagles a better side, just as he lauded the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, and the football body for trusting him to lead Nigeria.
Rohr was named as Nigeria’s coach in 2016 following the departure of Sunday Oliseh and went on to qualify the side for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He also led the Eagles to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt after Nigeria had missed out on the last two editions of the continental showpiece in 2015 and 2017.
“He has a contract. And the contract states clearly that he has the right of first refusal. Now, we are sending the contract to him,” he explained.
“And the contract definitely will have maybe one or two provisions but not radically different from what he has. And that is the truth.”
Speaking further, he said: “When people talk about Gernot Rohr, I know a lot of people who were antagonistic when we brought him the first time.”
Pinnick added that “People said he is not fit to coach Nigeria” but the said the football body has always been steadfast and does not take individual decisions.
He said: “We take a collective decision and at times we also engage the ministry (Youths and Sports Development). Whatever we are doing is in the best interest of the country.”
On the payment of the coach and players in naira, he said the NFF will back any government decision, saying the body is part of the government and will do anything to protect the interest of the country.
“When they play in Nigeria, their bonuses have been in naira. When they play abroad, we pay them in dollars but that can even change.”
The NFF boss explained: “Like I said, we are going to take many difficult decisions that will go across board because we need to promote our fiscal policy.
“If the government is saying that we need to strengthen our naira, we should not be paying in dollars. We are an integral part of the government.”
Pinnick revealed that the NFF is doing a lot behind the scene to help the country in the fight against coronavirus, adding that no one expected the outbreak of the pandemic.
“Behind the scene,” he stated, “we do quite a lot. We are going to support some of these centers even if it is buying some tubers of yams. We have to do that. COVID-19 is something that nobody expected.”