NFF Dares Dare: “We Cannot Sack Gernot Rohr”
By Amaechi Agbo
All may not be well currently between the Minister of youth and sports and the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF as both parties are set for collision in the coming days following the latter’s instance that the Super Eagles coach, Gernot will not be sacked after poor performances lately.
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare has called to question Rohr’s competence to manage the Super Eagles following insipid performances against Sierra Leone in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON qualifying matches played this month.
Super Eagles squandered a 4-0 lead to drew 4-4 against the Leone Stars in Benin on Friday 13 November and laboured to a 0-0 draw in return leg played in Freetown on 17th.
The team’s performance drew a critical assessment from the minister who vowed that “the needful will be done” but the NFF, through its president, Amaju Pinnick has come out to say the coach cannot be sacked.
Pinnick has restated his backing for embattled head coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr despite increasing calls for the immediate dismissal of the German.
The under-fire 67-year-old is facing intense criticism especially after the Super Eagles’ performance during their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying double-header wherein they failed to beat the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, home and away.
In the immediate aftermath, Sunday Dare, Nigeria’s Minister for Youth and Sports Development, was directly critical of the results. He openly expressed this while insisting that “the needful will be done”.
“The performance of the Super Eagles from their last two matches calls to question the suitability and competences of Technical Adviser, Rohr. Nigerian football deserves better. The needful will be done. Apologies to all football lovers,” Dare said on twitter immediately after the second leg match in Sierra Leone.
In a recent tweet, the Minister was candid about his sentiments regarding the coaching bench. “Nigerian football deserves better.” Former Nigerian international Yakubu Aiyegbeni went as far as describing Rohr as “Nigeria’s worst ever coach.”
However, on his own part, Pinnick backed the former Gabon and Niger coach to continue on the job.
“Nobody is happy about what happened against Sierra Leone in both matches,” Pinnick told BBC Sport Africa
“But it is not enough to sack the coach because his team is still top of the Nations Cup group after four matches.
“His statistics speaks volume for him, so on what indexes do we want to sack him considering the contract recently signed by both parties.
“No matter how emotional and disappointed the fans are, there’s no basis to sack him now and he deserves to keep his job.”
“When you look at his performance, where he has won 29 matches, drew 14 and lost 10, you can say that is enough to back him,” said Pinnick.
On Thursday, while on a domestic national television Sports Parliament programme, Pinnick reiterated that the former Burkina Faso coach will not be sacked.
“Yes, the performance in the last two games has not gone down well with some people, but we need to be professional, honest and respectful in how we analyse things.”
“Rohr has done well as our coach, qualifying us for the World Cup and finishing third at the AFCON. It was the same coach who beat Argentina and drew with Brazil in friendlies.
“He has our full support.
“Sacking Rohr is not as easy as Nigerians see it. The football federation would have to pay him off,” he explained.
Newsmen gathered that such a pay-off is reportedly put at around $1.2 million.
Rohr, who was appointed Super Eagles manager in 2016, signed a new two-year contract, with a monthly pay of $49,000 (about N17m) in March this year. Under him, Nigeria has played 53 matches of which they have won 29, drawn 14 and lost 10.
Nigeria will take on Benin republic in March next year when hostilities begin again for the 2021 AFCON to be hosted in Cameroon.