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Aghahowa: Rohr Cannot Take Eagles to the Promised Land

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Duro Ikhazuagbe

Despite Super Eagles defeat of the Central African Republic in a 2022 World Cup qualifying reverse fixture in Douala, Cameroon last Sunday, a former Nigerian ex-international, Julius Aghahowa, has insisted he remains unimpressed with Gernot Rohr’s handling of the three-time African champions.

CAR’s Wild Beasts stunned Lagos fans with a last minute 1-0 defeat of Super Eagles on Match-day 3 fixture at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere last Thursday. That defeat was the first for Eagles in 40 years in a World Cup qualifying match at home.

But few minutes after Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen scored two un-replied goals against CAR in Douala to steady Nigeria’s lead of Group C on nine points, just two above Cape Verde, Aghahowa told THISDAY that the problem with the team was the bench.

“There has not been a major impact from Coach Gernot Rohr on Super Eagles.

“Having spent five years on the Eagles job, I can’t say this is the great thing Rohr has done with Eagles. I don’t think Rohr can take Super Eagles to the promised land.

“In terms of the team developing from one level to the other, I have not seen that,” observed Aghahowa at the unveiling of a new players union in Lagos last Sunday.

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The ex-international however admitted that the current generation of Super Eagles were full of players with great talents.

“”When you play under a manager, there are certain things you feel you can do but if the manager did not give you room to do them there is little or nothing you can do about that.

“I still can recall during the AFCON 2000 in the game against Senegal, I can remember I was on the bench until the 85th minute. Our Coach knew what he wanted me to do and I delivered.”

Aghahowa insisted that the strength of a team is the bench, most especially what the head coach has to offer.

“How strong a team is is based on the substitute’s bench.

“Rohr has been with the team for five years and we have been complaining about him and the quality of Eagles games. Yet, we went ahead to

extend his contract. We have not seen his impact in terms of coaching on the team. That is my candid opinion.”

He insisted that if Eagles are struggling against small African teams, the future looks bleak when Nigeria play top European and South American countries at the global stage.

Aghahowa remembered for his backflip celebration of his goals during his time at the national team, is miffed at the almost total neglect of players from the domestic league in the Super Eagles under Rohr.

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“ Clemens Westerhof picked players from the Nigeria Professional Football League and made them professionals but Rohr does not want to have anything to do with them. We need a mix of foreign-based and players from the home league. The late Stephen Keshi proved the mix was good enough to win AFCON in 2013 in South Africa,” he recalled.

Asked if he was considering a career as a football coach, the Edo-born former player declined. “ I don’t have the temperament to be a coach. I don’t want to die on the sideline,” Aghahowa concluded.

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