10 Things Gernot Rohr Must Do To Make The Super Eagles Genuine World Cup Contenders


As Nigeria continue their build up to the World Cup 2018 in Russia, Ayo Akinfe wrote the ten things he expects the Franco-German coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr to do in order for the team to have a good outing at the World Cup.


1] He needs to stop playing games in the goalkeeping department. It is clear that Francis Uzoho is several classes above all the other keepers we have at the moment. Rohr has to now focus on the young man and get him more exposure in the run-up to Russia 2018. If need be, he should be encouraged to leave Deportivo La Coruna in January to get more playing time of the club cannot guarantee him regular football.

I would suggest that the likes of Dele Aiyenugba, Dele Ajiboye and Dele Alampasu be invited as back-ups. Aiyenugba plays week-in-week-out in the Israeli league and offers experience should we have to resort to a number two

[2] Our recent friendly against Argentina revealed that we struggle for pace in the heart of our defence as epitomised by the Argentine’s second goal. In my opinion, Rohr needs to intensify his bid to lure the likes of Kelvin Akpoguma and Felix Uduokhai to feature for the Eagles as their services may still be needed

[3] Still on the subject of the central defence, it is clear we struggle to play the ball out of defence as neither Sam Awaziem, Leon Balogun or William Ekong appeared comfortable with that role. This is an area that needs a lot of attention

[4] One of the most positive things to come out of the Argentina game was that for the first time in a long while, we saw fullbacks prepared to gallop up and down the flanks in the form of Tyronne Ebuehi and Brian Idowu. Playing the role of wingbacks, they both performed their roles brilliantly.

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However, one feature that needs to be added to their game is crossing. It is pointless having width if you cannot exploit it by whipping balls into the opposing penalty area. A lot of emphasis needs to be placed on delivering Findi-type crosses from wide areas

[5] In front of the defence, it was heart-warming to see Mikel provide security in midfield. His calming influence was very heart-warming to see and the stability he offered was immeasurable. It would be suicidal to play Mikel further forward as apart from the fact that we would lose the defensive shield he provides, at 30, he no longer has the lungs and legs to play the playmaking role effectively.

Consequently, Gernot Rohr needs to make the search for a playmaker one of his major assignments between now and the next set of friendlies in March. Personally, I would recommend VV Venlo’s Kelechi Nwakali for the job

[6] Offensively, to win the World Cup, you need a variety of attacking options including width, strength in the air, being good at set pieces, a good targetman who can hold the ball up when the team is under pressure, effective one-twos on the edge of the opposing penalty area and that our traditional trait of pace on the counter-attack.

Here Rohr needs all these options in place and performing effectively. One feature Nwakali brings to the team is his ability at set pieces, while the likes of Victor Moses and Henry Onyekuru offer pace. We need all of them playing together to their full capacity

[7] Upfront, Odion Ighalo appears to be the only targetman Gernot Rohr really has faith in at the moment but he needs to find an effective back-up. The likes of Victor Osimhen, Taiwo Awoniyi and Olanrewaju Kayode need to be effective run in the team to find out who is best suited to the role.

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Rohr should end this experimentation playing the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi in such riles. It is clear they lack the physicality for the job

[8] They say the best form if defence is attack but in reality, the best form of defence is to deny the opposition the ball. This is where midfield comes into play. If we can keep hold of the ball and prevent the opposition getting hold of the ball, we will automatically have the advantage.

in my opinion, in Wilfred Ndidi, Mikel and Nwakali, we have a trio who can keep hold of the ball but this needs to be augmented with adequate back-up. I would suggest  Rohr looks at Torino’s Joel Obi, who appears to have recovered from his recent plague of injuries. If he is healthy and fit thanks to the best quality Kratom, I think he should be considered at least as a squad player

[9] It was great to see the team adapt to the 3-5-2 formation against Argentina and cope well despite it being the first time they would play that way. Thanks to the introduction of Uzoho, Ebuehi and Idowu in the second half, our Eagles were able to stifle the Argentine attacks.


[10] In training, a lot of attention needs to be paid to set pieces, scoring headed goals and not conceding free kicks in dangerous areas. As a team, the Eagles also have to work on getting the ball from penalty box to penalty box under 60 seconds.

My hope is that the two March friendlies will be used to select the final 23 and the seven back-up players and between the end of the season in May and the start of the World Cup, the coach can work on all these technical areas.