‘Friendlies Will Help Eagles Against Cameroun’
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr has promised Nigerians a better outing when the national team plays against Burkina Faso on Monday.Although many football pundits have praised the Eagles for the 1-1 draw they got from the game against Senegal on Thursday, Rohr believes his would be better prepared for Burkina Faso after three more training sessions.
Rohr told thenff.com after Thursday’s match at the Hive Stadium in London that the Burkina Faso match “is a different game altogether. I coached them before coming to Nigeria and I know they are not so much physical but a very technical team.”
Pointing out some of the stars that took Burkina Faso to the semifinals of the last African Nations Cup, Rohr said, “you think of players like Bertrand Traore (who is with Chelsea FC of England but loaned to Ajax Amsterdam) and also Nakoulma who was impressive at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, as well as Alain Traore, (Aristide) Bance and the young goalkeeper (Herve Koffi).
“It is going to be an interesting match, but we will be at our best.”He explained that the results of these trial games did not matter so much, adding, “It is the attitude of the players and what they bring to the game. I am satisfied with our whole attitude and the fact that after going down by a goal, we were mentally strong enough to come back and eventually ended the match on a high.”
On the Super Eagles’ untidy performance early in the game against Senegal, Rohr said, “you must also consider that we were missing key players like Carl (Ikeme), (Victor) Moses and the captain (Mikel John Obi). We put out a couple of players who had not featured for us before, like (Olanrewaju) Kayode and (Isaac) Success.
“We had to deal with goalkeeping issue and Daniel (Akpeyi) did not have any training with the team. (Ikechukwu) Ezenwa came on the eve of the match and also did not train. It was difficult planning for the game but I am satisfied with what we came up with and how we approached the game.”
He praised the defenders, as well as Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho in the attack, for their efforts, saying that the boys would be better with time.“It is a fact that Leon (Balogun), (William) Ekong and Elderson (Echiejile) had not been playing regularly in their clubs, and even Kenneth (Omeruo) who had been active was played in a different role. (Ahmed) Musa and Kelechi (Iheanacho) had also not been playing much. So, it was tough for them at the start but they picked up well and showed good character.
“Our captain (Ogenyi Onazi) went off injured after only 20 minutes. We had to choose between (John) Ogu and (Oghenekaro) Etebo, we opted for Ogu because of the stature of the Senegalese and I think he did well. Now, we know we have some strength-in-depth and that is very good for planning.
“I am also delighted with the confidence level of Wilfred (Ndidi).”The Franco-German explained that the Super Eagles decided to play Senegal because they are as physical as Nigeria’s next opponents in the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Cameroun.
“It was great to see how our players stood up to the challenge of playing teams like these. I was happy with them in that respect.He believes that being African champions has given “Cameroun more confidence. They have players who have the belief that being champions brings. But we know that if we are to win in Cameroun it will give us a great chance of being at the World Cup.”