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NFF, Rohr conclude contractual discussions

Stakeholders react as NFF gives Rohr AFCON title, World Cup qualification targets

German manager and former footballer, Gernot Rohr has been renamed the national coach of the Super Eagles for the next two years after his first appointment by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in August 2016.

According to available statistics, Rohr has overseen 49 games with the Eagles, where he won 29, drew 11 and lost the remaining 9 games. His winning ratio stands at 59.18% as at the time of writing this piece.

He won his first game in charge defeating Tanzania by a lone goal on September 03, 2016 in a final AFCON qualifier at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium in Uyo while he recorded his first loss against South Africa on June 10, 2017 in what was the first match of the 2019 AFCON qualifying series in Uyo. Nigeria lost 2-0 for the first time to South Africa in a competitive match.

Despite the initial setback, Rohr led Nigeria to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on 17 July 2019, a year which he won nine, lost three and drew three of the 15 games he managed.

Rohr also led Nigeria to become the first African side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a 1–0 win against Zambia on October 7, 2017.

According to German (Bonn)-based organisation International Federation of Football History & Statistics, Rohr was ranked 19th among the top 20 world national coach in 2019 with one point. He was tied with South Korean head coach, Paulo Bento, China coach, Marcello Lippi and Iranian coach, Marc Wilmots.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, revealed Rohr’s contract was renewed to enable him to prove himself but should he fail to meet his target he would be fired.

“For Rohr to have come in, he must have been world standard,” Dare said in an interview with NTA’s Executive Discourse.

“With the conditions we have put in, I think it’s only fair to let him continue if he has accepted, but then again, we are going to warn him [Rohr] to a great standard of responsibility, a greater depth in our football and a greater level of success.

“In that contract, there are points that if he does not meet the desired standard, we can terminate his contract. So we are not stuck with him. He has an opportunity to prove himself.

“Even if we bring in the best coach in the world, we will set the same standard for him, and if those expectations are not met, we will show him the door.

“We will let this play out, he has also made promises that things will get better and I think we will just wait and see what happens eventually,” he said.

Prior to the contract renewal, it will be recalled the minister had advocated for a world class coach for the Eagles.

The three major conditions attached to the contract renewal which Rohr accepted were that he must live in Nigeria for at least 10 months in a year; his salary would no longer be in foreign currency but in Nigerian currency as well as watching Nigeria Professional Football League games across the country to see how he can develop home grown talents.

Rohr is expected to receive approximately N19m as salary on a monthly basis which according to him that his three assistants are also paid from his wages and not by the NFF.

As part of the conditions to accept the renewal, Rohr has been mandated to win the next Africa Cup of Nations as well as qualifying the nation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in a bid to justify the huge salary being paid to him.

In a NFF Executive Committee meeting held via video conference held recently, the president, Amaju Pinnick had highlighted some of the requirements in the new deal proposed then for the German tactician.

“We have told him. He must live in Nigeria. His salary will be in naira. He must go around the leagues and see how he can nurture the players,” the NFF president had said in a TV interview last month.

The former Gabon and Niger coach believes winning the AFCON 2021 title will be difficult, though not impossible.

“When you go to a tournament it is to win it. We finished third in the last one, and everybody wants to progress. But we know also that it is very difficult to win this tournament because we are not number one in Africa. But it is good to have these milestones and ambition,” Rohr told BBC Sport.

The 66-year-old also stated that he is prepared for the task ahead meet the targets set for him by the NFF.

“My contract all the time is a risk because it is finished when we are eliminated from a competition – whether the Afcon or World Cup.

“I took the risk already when I arrived, and it is still the same. But I am very optimistic, because now we have a team which is playing good football and I have confidence in my players,” he explained.

In a chat with a former international, Mutiu Adepoju, he admonished Rohr not to limit himself to the NFF’s target but set for himself a high target.

“Target or no target, every coach will always want to win. Even himself right from when he was appointed, he would have loved to win always. I don’t any target is too small but he should also give himself target to go beyond what the NFF gave him.

“I don’t want to attach the salary being paid to him as it is in the agreement. Every manager that has coached Nigeria aspires to go far in the World Cup,” he said.

Speaking with former Nigerian goalkeeper and coach, Joe Erico is of the belief that Nigeria at this stage should not be thinking of just qualifying for the World Cup but winning it.

“I think it is not too much because he is being paid. What do you expect? Nigeria has won the Nations Cup and we are a footballing nation, we are a force to reckon with. The target is good and should even spur him on. We have qualified for World Cup before and being given the target to qualify is not wrong but we should be thinking of winning World Cup by now by own assessment.

“If we are well organized from 1985, we should be thinking of winning the World Cup or even defending it. We should be a consistent nation, not just thinking of qualifying for World Cup. The target is good for him and the players to work harder,” he said.

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