Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick says Gernot Rohr’s fate will be at “the discretion of the NFF” and dependent on the “God of soccer” should the Super Eagles fail to win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
If he sees out the contract, it will make Rohr, who has been in his post since 2016, Nigeria’s longest-serving coach beating the record of Clemens Westerhof.
However, in order to get to that point, Rohr would have to win the 2021 Nations Cup and qualify Nigeria for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar per the terms of his new deal.
Essentially, it means that the 66-year-old former Bordeaux manager faces the sack if Nigeria fails to add a fourth continental title to its cabinet.
Pinnick, however, says that might not necessarily be the case and that failure to win in Cameroon may not automatically spell the end for the former Gabon coach.
In a virtual meeting with journalists on Monday, the football administrator said while Rohr has been given the absolute target of winning the AFCON in 2021 the NFF understands that the team can fall short because of what he termed “the God of soccer”.
In a situation where the team falls short of their stated goal, Pinnick said Rohr’s future will then be dependent on the NFF who will make a decision based on the overall performance of the team.
Expanding on his “God of soccer” allegory, Pinnick pointed to the smash and grab victories of Chelsea and Portugal over Bayern Munich and France in the finals of the 2012 UEFA Champions League and the 2016 Euros respectively as instances where the losing teams were clearly superior to their conquerors.
A similar scenario for the Super Eagles in 2021 could see Rohr continue in his position as long as the NFF is satisfied “with the football artistry, technical competence and technical input from the bench,” Pinnick said.
Having finished in third-place at the 2019 edition in Egypt, the former CAF 1st vice-president said NFF would be pulling all stops to ensure the Super Eagles lift the trophy in 2021.
Pinnick suggested that the federation will take a keener than normal interest in the work of Rohr this time around and won’t allow the former Gabon coach “take responsibility for everything”.
Pinnick revealed that arrangements are currently ongoing with FIFA’s technical committee to have them evaluate Rohr’s ability and work with the coach to improve any deficient areas.
These measures, Pinnick said, are to ensure that Nigeria becomes “number one’ in Africa so that “nothing can stop us from winning the Nations Cup”.