•As Green wants continuity
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has expressed confidence in the team’s ability to pick the sole ticket of the 2018 FIFA World Cup despite their failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Rohr took charge of the Eagles for the first time as Nigeria laboured to defeat Tanzania 1-0 in a 2017 AFCON qualifier in Uyo last Saturday which was meaningless in terms of qualification, as Egypt had already earned the sole group G ticket.
The 63-year-old German said his belief is hinged on the fact that the players are the “most motivated” in the group which includes Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia, their first opponent in Ndola on October 3.
“In our group, every team can go to the World Cup because there are four top teams in the group. However, the most motivated team in the group is our team (Super Eagles).
“I experienced that motivation last week. We have big, quality players and I think we have a big chance to go there (Russia 2018),” he said.
He however, stressed that the team is presently “very low on confidence because they have failed to qualify for the 2017 Afcon,” adding that “The players need confidence and the confidence will come when they win games. But first, we need a good defence to be stable and to attack better.”
However, Chairman of the Technical and Development Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, Chris Green, wants the present crop of Super Eagles to be retained for the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia in October.
Green, who said he was satisfied with the team’s performance and wants continuity, bemoaned the state of the pitch which he felt impeded the Super Eagles on match day.
“It was a good game generally. I saw the resilience of our team, as usual, These days it’s not easy keeping on the pressure and bagging the three points. The Tanzanians came with a game plan to see how they can check us and catch us on the counter, but our boys were on top of their game,” Green said.
“Unfortunately the playing turf did not really help matters because it was stunted and very heavy to play on. We would have put the game to bed in the first half but for the poor state of the field, which robbed us of a minimum of three goals coming from the likes of Victor Moses, (Kelechi) Iheanacho and the rest of them.
“It took the brilliance of one Kelechi Iheanacho, who we can say has been one of the successes from the U-17 to the U-20 and now playing at the ‘A’ level, that’s the national team A (the Super Eagles).
“Generally the team played very well despite the fact we played on a field that was stunted, undulating and heavy to play on. These are all technical matters, but I was satisfied with their play and I believe if they (Super Eagles) continue that way, we would go a long way,” he added