Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has stated home-based players were omitted from his latest selection for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches because they are not fit enough.
The Super Eagles will host Benin for their Group L opening game at Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Wednesday with only Enyimba defender Ifeanyi Anaemena making Rohr’s 23-man squad after replacing Bryan Idowu.
During an interview, President of the Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick said the German tactician will be tasked to monitor the domestic league when he renews his contract which will expire in June.
In his response to the comment on Tuesday, Rohr admitted a difference in opinion with Pinnick and defended his choice of players after the 2019-20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season started on November 3.
“He didn’t speak on it at all, I know he sometimes has a different opinion like me but then, it is football. I never accept it to make a choice coming from the officials, my choice is the choice of sports arguments only, to take the best players,” he told the media.
“Unfortunately, we could not take more players from the local league because they did not play so it was difficult for them to be fit.
“And also the Chan team, unfortunately, did not qualify that’s also a problem perhaps, the missed competition. I’m sure we have good players here and we see one of them coming from Enyimba, Ifeanyi Anaemena who replaced Idowu who has a passport problem.
Instead of calling someone from Europe in the last moment, we took this player and he has the chance like the Olympic squad, I watched them in their first game [vs Ivory Coast] and they have a chance but we can take one of them who will be able to show something.
“I know that some people cannot be happy about my choice but I can tell you it is my choice, it is always honest.”
After Wednesday’s game at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, the Super Eagles will depart for Maseru where they will play Lesotho on Sunday.