Sports Minister Sunday Dare has charged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to ‘call Gernot Rohr to order’ regarding the constant ‘discrimination’ against home-based players by the Super Eagles coach.
The Sports Minister gave the charge in Abuja on Tuesday when he visited the Super Eagles – who are comprised of only Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) stars – ahead of their international friendly encounter against Mexico on 3 July in California, USA.
The 68-year-old Franco-German has elected to visit and offer words of advice to the team, with NFF Technical Director Austin Eguavoen leading the Super Eagles to battle against Mexico.
Former Gabon and Burkina Faso coach Rohr has often overlooked NPFL players since he took over the Eagles job in 2016, preferring their foreign-based counterparts instead.
But Sunday Dare, in a strong-worded remark, described Rohr’s attitude towards the NPFL stars as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘negative to our football development in this country’.
“We’ll tell the NFF – the NFF needs to call Gernot Rohr to order, because we cannot have a technical coach who will discriminate amongst our players,” the Sports Minister said. “They are football players, they have talents, you cannot discriminate.
“His attitude towards home-based players is unacceptable. It is negative to our football development in this country, and I call on the NFF to call him to order. I call on the NFF to hold him by the content by the letter of his contract.
“But beyond that, he needs to shut up and do the work for which he was hired to do. He talks too much.”
The Sports Minister also spoke of the need for Rohr to have a blend of the foreign and home-based players in the Super Eagles.
“Well, I’m sure you know quite well I’m an advocate of home-based players, because I’ve seen so many of them play,” he added. “We must have a blend of foreign-based and home-based players.
“Recall about three months ago after the Benin (AFCON qualifier), we had a meeting in my office with the NFF, and part of the things we reiterated was the need for the Technical Adviser (Gernot Rohr) to pay attention to our local league – the Premier league (NPFL) especially. To identify our stars, our talents and then blend them into the Super Eagles.
“It’s important that we just don’t assemble foreign-based players and use them. We want a technical person who will build a team, not just assemble for the purpose of playing a game. And when you build a team, it’s a blend of home-based players and foreign-based players.
“I’m happy this is happening. I’m not surprised, it’s something we want to happen. It’s been the culture and tradition of our football development.
“I’m sure these ones will go there and exhibit their talents. And I’m sure they will keep them as a nucleus that will blend eventually with the other Super Eagles players – Team A.”