Former Super Eagles captain Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha has slammed head coach Gernot Rohr as the reason for the team’s 2-0 loss to Croatia in what was their Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D opener.
Okocha also stated that the Franco-German didn’t do his work well and was mainly responsible for the defeat.
An unfortunate own goal from newly signed Stoke City midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo in the first half and a second half penalty from Luka Modric was enough to give the Croatians victory.
Okocha ripped Rohr apart while he was working as a pundit for Super Sport.
He said: “It was a decent first half but maturity was the edge the Croatian team had over the Nigerian team.”
“The Super Eagles got done by the movements of the Croatian team in their box. The Super Eagles midfielders were not doing their best both in defending and in attack.
“Eagles didn’t geg the best out of Alex Iwobi and Victor Moses because the manager was trying to accommodate Mikel Obi in the team.
“The manager didn’t earn his money today. We were not a threat in the first half and I was expecting him to play three at the back, five players in the midfield and two strikers to the team a chance to get back into the game.
“It is sad because I know we can do better than this. Of course there is still hope but we have to do it the hard way now.
“These (Croatians) are world class players who know how to win by exploiting little details.”
He also blamed the former Bayern Munich defender for deploying Mikel in the creative role.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Eintracht Frankfurt midfield maestro said: “We didn’t have a creative player today.”
“Mikel has been a good servant to the national team. His best position is playing in front of the defence. We saw what he did playing for Chelsea where he had a glorious career.
“The most creative player in that team is Alex Iwobi but he was played on the flanks. He (Iwobi) can play on the flanks at Arsenal because they had better players in that role like Mesut Ozil.
“The reason why we lost was because we played our best players out of their positions.
“Playing Mikel in that position didn’t help Moses and Iwobi on the flanks.” He concluded.