Despite the fact that he was fired from the Super Eagles job, German Coach, Gernot Rohr, has insisted he has no regrets taking up the senior Nigerian football team post.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Colin Udoh from his base in France yesterday, Rohr who will be going to Cameroon next month as a pundit, said his five years on the job were eventful ones.
“No regrets (working in Nigeria). We did all we had to do in the interest of Nigeria, and we are proud about that. We found young goalkeepers who will be here for perhaps 10 years. We found young wingers, we found new defenders. We helped our captain (Ahmed Musa) get the record of more than 103 games for his country. We produced the top goal scorers in the last AFCON and the qualifiers also.
“So, five wonderful years and four months, and I thank (NFF President ) Amaju Pinnick, who gave me the chance to work in this country. I will forget the end. What happened this last one year was not easy, but now I hope that everybody will be correct and can live like friends,” observed the German who showed witty side of him during the interview.
Rohr also insisted that if he had been left to continue, Super Eagles were sure of winning the AFCON in Cameroon as icing on the bronze they won at Egypt 2019 with him in charge.
“Last time (at Egypt 2019) we made third. We had a good AFCON, we lost in the semifinal in the last second. This time, I’m sure it would have been better because the team has been growing together for five years and we had our different strategies, and the tactics were becoming more and more efficient.” The German gaffer still believes in his wards to deliver even in his absence. “And I think even without me, they will do it, they can do it, because this team is young, is intelligent, and they can fight. They love their fatherland and they will be able to do very well at the next AFCON.”
Instead of ill feelings due to the manner he was eased out of the Eagles job despite meeting all the targets set in his new contract, Rohr wants Nigerians to remember his legacies.
“Opinions are not all the same but everybody will see the facts. The facts are that we came from No. 67 in the world to No. 36. From No. 13 in Africa to No. five. And we will be in the top five (in Africa) for the World Cup draw, which is very important for the playoffs.
“We had a wonderful professional relationship, and the human relationships also will be forever.”
He also admitted to cherish forever the memories of delivering results in difficult groups with Cameroon, Algeria, Zambia for the 2018 World Cup, and then finishing first for the AFCON qualifiers.
“We never lost a competitive game for the qualifiers away. Never. We only lost two at home in Nigeria.
“There are different reasons for that. Because at home, there are sometimes distractions that make it more difficult. They have family waiting for them, they have friends waiting for them, it’s not easy for them to concentrate. And it’s only Uyo where we can play well. That was the best one all the time, but we couldn’t go there any more for different reasons.
I wish that Nigeria can get good infrastructure. They need to develop football. And they need solidarity between the sports minister and the federation. That was unfortunately not the case in these five years,” concludes the German.