The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) announced on Sunday that the country’s national team coach, Gernot Rohr, has been sacked after qualifying the country for the final qualification stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The announcement came less than four weeks to the commencement of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon which the coach qualified the country for.
Recall that the rumor about the sack of the coach started brewing over three weeks ago. Reports claimed that after Gernot Rohr qualified Nigeria for the World Cup playoffs, the NFF invited him to a meeting to urge him to resign since he could not help the Super Eagles to play a more inspiring style of football.
However, the German tactician who has been the coach of the Super Eagles for over 5 years turned down the offer.
Despite the purported meeting which took place amid the speculation that the German coach had been sacked, the NFF released a press statement a week ago to deny the sack of the coach.
However, on Sunday night, December 12, the NFF’s general secretary Mohammed Sanusi said in a statement that: “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.”
Immediately after his sack, Gernot Rohr was replaced by Augustine Eguavoen as the interim coach of the national team.
Eguavoen is not new to the Super Eagles setup. Recall that he played for the national team between 1987 and 1998. He won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations as the captain of the team.
The 56-year-old Nigerian tactician has coached the Super Eagles of Nigeria between 2005 and 2007. He helped the country to win a Bronze medal in the 2006 AFCON. More so, he served as the country’s caretaker coach in 2010.
Here are the possible reasons why NFF sacked Gernot Rohr
Since 2016 when the NFF made Gernot Rohr the coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, there have been a couple of mixed feelings over his appointment.
The fact that he could not lead the country beyond the group stage in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and failed to win more than Bronze in 2019 AFCON infuriated most supporters of the Super Eagles, urging the NFF to let him go.
Despite the call for the NFF to sack the German tactician in 2018 and 2019, the football body decided to offer him a 2 and half year contract in 2020.
Since then, the Super Eagles’ style of play has continued to witness little or no improvement despite having football stars scattered across top clubs in Europe.
The most uninspiring era under Gernot Rohr took place during the second phase of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in which Nigeria had weaker teams like Liberia, Cape Verde, and the Central African Republic to play against. Despite how weak the teams were, Super Eagles struggled to beat or draw the teams.
The biggest shocker in Nigeria football in 2021 happened on October 7, when lowly ranked the Central African Republic visited Nigeria to defeat the Super Eagles 1-0.
Apart from the shocking defeat, Gernot Rohr’s team played most of their games with no conviction, no definite pattern, little or no coordination, and lacked identity. Hence, Rohr who is the longest-serving coach of the team had to be sacked less than four weeks to AFCON.
As it stands, Eguavoen will lead Nigeria to 2022 AFCON in Cameroon to face Egypt, Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau in Group D from January 11, 2022.
Eguavoen’s coaching crew comprises Salisu Yusuf (chief coach), Paul Aigbogun (assistant coach), Joseph Yobo (assistant coach); Terry Eguaoje (assistant coach), and Aloysius Agu (goalkeeper trainer).
Former captains of the Super Eagles Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, and Garba Lawal will provide technical and ambassadorial support for the team.