It appears Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr might have managed his last game in charge of the national team after the country’s sports minister Sunday Dare questioned his suitability for the job and threatened the “needful will be done” in response to the team’s uninspiring draws with Sierra Leone in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
Rohr’s position, long under scrutiny, has become perilous after his team blew a four goal lead to draw 4-4 with the Leone Stars in Benin before playing out a disappointing goalless stalemate in Freetown.
Victory in either game would have ensured Nigeria’s place in Cameroon with two games to spare but the Eagles will now wait until March 2021 for another chance to secure their spot.
With the draws, Nigeria failed to win a game in a calendar year for the first time since 1974 after also drawing with Tunisia and losing to Algeria in friendly games played in 2020.
Despite recently signing a two-year extension, the results have left Rohr on the brink with Nigerians turning on him and Dare, whose opposition to the coach is public knowledge, all but confirming Rohr is as good as gone.
Of particular concern is Rohr’s seeming inability to eradicate what has become a common thread in critical matches where the Super Eagles have fallen short.
Against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup, Rohr failed to stem the tide of Argentine pressure with the game poised at 1-1 and Nigeria needing just a draw to make the second round. Marcus Rojo then scored a late winner for the South Americans to dump Nigeria from the tournament with many laying the blame for Nigeria’s ouster at the feet of Rohr.
The Franco-German failed to learn the lessons from that defeat and a year on at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, the Eagles found themselves in a similar situation, tied 1-1 with Algeria in the semifinal with minutes left and extra time beckoning.
Many felt Nigeria would have gone on to win against a clearly tiring Algerians in extra time if Rohr had been proactive but it was the North Africans who triumphed and ended up winning the tournament after Riyad Mahrez’s last minute free kick goal consigned the Eagles to yet another painful but ultimately avoidable defeat under Rohr.
Notwithstanding those disappointments, the former Gabon manager’s contract was renewed this year albeit on vastly reduced terms on the back of two impressive wins against Benin and Lesotho last November as the Eagles started their AFCON qualifying campaign in style.
But the team has yet to win another match and the back-to-back draws against the Leone Stars have thrown up questions about Rohr’s future once again.
Dare who was roundly criticised for his role in the Benin debacle even his predecessor Dalung weighing in after he participated in the team’s training, has been publicly critical of Rohr in the wake of the Sierra Leone games.
It appears Rohr’s head is now firmly on the chopping block with Dare clearly signalling his intent to let the axe descend at any moment.
“The performance of the Super Eagles from their last two matches calls to question the suitability and competences of Technical Adviser, Rohr. Nigerian football deserves better. The needful will be done. Apologies to all football lovers,” the minister wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
With Dare’s recent outbursts it remains to be seen if Rohr will still be in charge when Nigeria travel to Cotonou to take on Benin Republic in their next AFCON qualifier next March.