The Men Behind The Names In Gernot Rohr’s 25 Man List Unmasked


Gernot Rohr is a gentle man, a very focused coach and a man that has direction. His coming has brought back our lost smiles but two men, Jonathan Akpos and Tunde Ade-what? are his very close confidants and together, they are gradually leading him astray.

Behind every Nigerian coach living or dead, there is always the hatchet men, whose job it is to identity the talents and bring them to the notice of the coaches. Some go the extra length to discuss with the players and tidy up those lose ends. Some of these hatchet men are always seen around the team camp, they eat and sleep in the players hotel, go to training with them and also join them in morning devotions.

From the days of Clemens Westerhof to Sunday Oliseh and later Samson Siasia, these hatchet men have existed. Some move always with a big bag on their back, others will prefer to operate from afar just to stay away from public scrutiny.

It is no longer news that one Mr Tunde Adela-what? was the brain behind Gernot Rohr’s coming to Nigeria, neither is it news that he got his fair share in the deal that brought the Franco German to Nigeria. What is news however is that this young man who is always seen around the Super Eagles camp whenever the players are around, now have an overbearing influence on team selection and is gradually usurping the duties of the NFF technical committee.

Just yesterday, I spoke with a member of the technical committee of the NFF who told me in clear terms that of the seven names suggested by the committee for the friendly matches against Senegal and Burkina Faso, only one made the final list of 25. ” Wale you see there are things we will not like to say to the media. It is just a friendly match we all know but methought such games should be used to test those players on the fringes not some rookies and some injured players who have nothing to offer in the long run. But we have decided not to interface, we can only make suggestions when requested for. We suggested about seven names to Rohr for these friendlies in London, but only one was picked”

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Apart from Tunde, another Nigerian who as at last year was an analyst with a Cable TV network in Lagos has been fingered in this latest racket. Step forward Jona Akpos. Immediately Gernot Rohr got the Super Eagles coaching job, he consulted the German FA to inform them of his new assignment and to request for assistance where necessary.

The FA immediately went to work and provided him with a list of former Nigerian internationals who at one time or the other played in the German Bundesliga. From this list, Rohr picked Jona and saddled him with the responsibility of scouting for Nigerian players in Europe for possible National call ups. Since he got this new job, Jona has been on the move looking for talents across Europe.

His search has helped to unearth two rookies, in Tyrone Ebuehi of ADO Den Haag of Holland and Noah Joel Bazee who plays in the German second division with Hannover 96. Both players are in their early 20s, have no previous national team experience and have never seen the green grass of home in their life time.

There are others in the list like, Ahmed Musa who comes in and out of the Leicester team, Musa Mohammed who is yet to kick a ball for his new club FC Zeicheznicker of Bosnia and Victor Osimhen who is still recuperating from injury with Wolfsburg of Germany.

Not to forget William Troost Ekong who has become a perpetual bench warmer at KAA Gent of Belgium.nNow, there are four Nigerians at KAA Gent, two of them, Moses Simon and Anderson Esiti play regularly while Ekong and Rabiu Ibrahim are unused substitutes. Coincidentally, Troost and Simon were invited while a very fit Esiti was left out. What can we call that?

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In the Portuguese League, Chidozie Awaziem of FC Porto was invited ahead of Michael Agu of Victoria Setubal. Agu has emerged man of the match four times this season with Setubal, he plays week in week out, whereas, Awaziem was only recently relegated to the youth team of FC Porto where he has remained a key player for them in the second division in Portugal . unused . The surprising thing is that Awaziem a defensive midfielder is always listed as a defender by these men to cover up their dubious intentions . What can we say about this one too?

Former Flying Eagles captain Kelechi Nwakali is in superb form for MVV Maastricht of Holland, he plays from the middle every other week and has emerged as one of the stars of the league this season but he was left out of a team that lacks creative flair in the absence of Mikel Obi. Instead, they went for some untested and uncircumcised rookies.

In the attack, the regulars, Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye are out after penning new deals in China but in comes Ahmed Musa( the Leicester City flop) Victor Osimhen (injured ) and Noah Joel Bazee of Hannover 96, who has scored just one goal in 16 matches this season. These men were picked ahead of Henry Onyekuru and Kayode Olarenwaju, two of the hottest Nigerian strikers in Europe presently. Kayode was voted the best striker in Austria last season and is back among the scorers for Austria Wien this season. There is God ooooh!

Wale Ajayi ( Media Officer of Nigeria U-20) Writes In From Abuja.