Fresh from guiding Nigeria through yet another unbeaten campaign to seal qualification for the 2021 AFCON, Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr wants his team to maintain their record of never losing a qualifier away from home under him when the 2022 World Cup qualifiers begin next month.
Since taking charge of the Super Eagles in 2016, Rohr has overseen a combined nine away matches across one World Cup and two full AFCON qualifying tournaments and has never lost a single match.
Indeed, with him in charge, Nigeria has lost just once in qualifying, a 2-0 reverse in Uyo to South Africa in 2017 in the opening game of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
The recently concluded 2021 AFCON qualifiers saw the three-time African champions win twice and draw once away from home to finish with four wins and two stalemates as they topped Group L to seal a place in Cameroon with two games to spare.
And reflecting on their performance in the qualifiers, Rohr pointed out his team has been able to achieve a level of consistency in matching their results in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
“The AFCON qualifiers was four wins and two draws, the same results like in the  World Cup qualifiers,” the former Gabon coach remarked. “Even now, we were qualified before the two last games.
“It’s interesting, we did our job, we were efficient, and we thank Nigerians for the support even after the two draws [with Sierra Leone].”
Looking ahead to the first round of qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar which kicks off in May, Rohr expressed optimism about Nigeria’s chances but said he hoped for a better experience and playing surface if the team were to play in Lagos again.
Nigeria have been drawn alongside Cape Verde, Central African Republic, and Liberia in the first phase of qualifying.
“The  World Cup qualifiers will start soon, and I think we will be able to do well,” he said. “We should expect good football again on a good pitch, I hope. Lagos did very well, but still have to improve, not easy because of the traffic.”
While hoping his record of never losing an away qualifier with Nigeria remains intact after the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the Eagles boss revealed there would be no new faces for the qualifying campaign having previously indicated that recently called up NPFL players would have no place in his team going forward.
“We cannot try new players now, it’s too late. Now it’s becoming very serious [the] World Cup qualification,” he said.
“The record of our result is very good. I know that we are unbeaten in all our away games in the qualifiers, which is wonderful. It is a record, and it is a nice one. We have to continue, and we want to be always the best, but sometimes, the other one also can make a result, and you cannot always win your matches.”
The 2022 World Cup qualifiers will see forty teams in ten groups of four battle for the chance to qualify for the last phase.
Group winners will face off in a straight knockout for one of five slots at what will be the first-ever World Cup to be held in November.