Football

Nigerian government wants ex-international to replace Gernot Rohr as Super Eagles boss

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has promised a better preparation ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

The Federal Government is canvassing the replacement of Gernot Rohr with any former international as Super Eagles Head Coach.

The Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, gave this hint on Monday during the media briefing heralding the three-day Africa Cup of Nations trophy tour of Lagos.

There has been ground swell of opposition to Rohr’s holding fort as Super Eagles Head coach following the team’s lackluster performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Despite qualifying for the African Playoffs next March, Nigerians from all works of life believe with Rohr, Super Eagles qualification for the World Cup will be a mirage.

Against this backdrop, Dare on Monday spoke the mind of the government saying, “Let our former football stars and sports icons who have done Nigeria proud and who understand the DNA of Nigerian football be given the opportunity to help build a team. From the history of Nigeria’s performance at the AFCON, we have seen the impactful roles of indigenous handlers and former stars.”

According to him, “We can also speak about Stephen Keshi (of blessed memory) and what he achieved as a coach and a player, others like Austin Eguavoen, Samson Siasia and Sunday Oliseh have all coached the Super Eagles and made their marks.

“Clearly we have enough talents here, we just need to put in the hard work to discover them.”

Dare believes the local content of Nigerian football needs to improve if the country wants to compete favourably at the global stage.

“We have to do more for the local ecosystem of our game,” he said, adding, “We have to be deliberate with talent discovery, nurturing of the talents discovered and managing them to get to the top of the ladder in their careers and stay there till they retire.

“We have countless examples of how we got this system working in the past. We must do it again. There must be consistent focus on the grassroots, school sports, and provisions of facilities, equipment and training gears. Competitions organized will also toughen and sharpen the talents.

“Look at Henry Nwosu, the 18 year old school boy that made the Green Eagles squad to the 1980 AFCON.

“What of ‘Chairman’ Christian Chukwu, Kadiri Ikhana who became accomplished coaches after their 1980 exploits.

The Sports Minister is hopeful the Super Eagles can win their fourth Africa Cup of Nations title next year. Nigeria finished in third place at the last edition of the tournament in Egypt two years ago and the Minister believes they can go two notches higher when next year’s event gets underway in January 2022 in Cameroon.

“I have created the mental picture of this golden (AFCON) trophy in my head and I will use it as a prayer point every morning,” Dare told the journalists and officials of TotalEnergies, AFCON sponsors, on Monday.

He said that Nigeria is the country with the most podiums finishes in the history of the competition, winning a medal 15 times out of 18 appearances.

The Super Eagles have won the tournament thrice, finished as runners up four times and won bronze eight times.

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