Super Eagles chief coach Gernot Rohr has cleared the air on why new boy Samuel Chukwueze wore the number 10 jersey against Uganda in last Tuesday’s international friendly at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
The number 10 jersey is worn by Mikel Obi, but fitness issues ruled out the captain in the last Eagles four matches. “That Samuel wore the number 10 jersey against Uganda does not mean that he has replaced Mikel in the team. It’s just a jersey number he used,” Rohr told newsmen on Friday.
“Mikel is part of our plans and the reason why he has been playing for the team is because of fitness issues. All i can l say now is that only Mikel can decide if he wants to be at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations,” said Rohr who hailed his captain as a fantastic player.
On why he is taking the team’s last Afcon qualifier against Seychelles seriously having qualified “We don’t just want to qualify for the AFCON, we want to finish top of our league. We need to win against Seychelles,” he said. The Eagles lead Group E with 10 points which sealed their qualification.
“There is a lot of work left but l must say that the team has improved tremendously under my watch. The mistakes are minimal, we now defend well and are scoring goals.
Rohr also hoped that Victor Moses will get his career with EPL side Chelsea back on track after he has been relegated to the bench by new manager, Maurizo Sarri.
He also explained why he has continued to invite Ikechukwu Ezenwa despite not keeping regularly for his side Enyimba of Aba.
“It’s always good to have a player like Ezenwa in the team because of his positive spirit just like John Ogu. They pray a lot and I like that.
On his assistant coach Salisu Yusuf suspended by the Nigeria Football Federation, he said, “If the NFF recalls Coach Salisu Yusuf to the Super Eagles, I will work with him. We have a good relationship. There is no reason why he should not be given another chance, but it is for the NFF to decide on that,” he said.
On the domestic players, “We have called up a lot of players from the local league to the national team. I love local players. I want to see them in the Super Eagles, but they need good infrastructure to play. They have to play often. So far 20 NPFL players have been invited to the Super Eagles,” he concluded.