Gernot Rohr has thrown the door open for Obafemi Martins and others to return to the Super Eagles ahead of 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Franco-German tactician revealed this during a recent interview when he's expressing his willingness to increase his striking options as the Super Eagles continue to build up to the World Cup.
Rohr who just extended his Super Eagles contract maintains that Obafemi Martins and other Nigerian strikers who are hoping to be part of the World Cup party would have to be playing and scoring consistently to earn a call up.
Martins, who currently plays for Shanghai Shenhua, helped his Club to win the Chinese FA Cup on Sunday, November 26, by beating rival Shanghai SIPG. The 33-year-old scored in both matches of the two-legged final.
He netted the only goal in his team's 1-0 first leg victory and also got their second goal in the return leg which finished 3-2 in favour of SIPG. Although the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate but Martins' club won based on away goals rule.
“Yes, the door is open to all our best players, including Martins.
“He is scoring a lot of goals and we need to get competition for all the positions, especially centre-forward.
“For now, we have Kelechi (Iheanacho) who is playing not all the time. (But) we played with Kelechi against Argentina and he did well.
“Then Anthony Nwakaeme also did well against Algeria and Odion Ighalo, who is injured now, did very well against Cameroon.
“But we have also other players, like the young boy Victor Osimhen, and we have to look everywhere.
“We have a lot of opportunities for the strikers, and so Martins, if he is scoring goals, will be welcome,” said Rohr.
The Super Eagles are still in search of a decent and reliable centre-forward. This position has continued to be a source of concern for Gernot Rohr who has experimented with different players in the last couple of games. During the six games of the World Cup qualification round, the Super Eagles paraded four different strikers.
In the Super Eagles' first qualifier game against Zambia in Lunda, Brown Ideye led the attack for the team. The then Olympiacos striker was impressive and also provided an assist for Iheanacho to score Nigeria's second goal in the 2-1 victory. However, a move to China in January of 2017 combined with lack of form and game time ruled him out of consideration.
Kelechi Iheanacho slotted into the striking position when the Super Eagles beat Algeria by 3-1 but it was obvious he struggled to cope in that role. In the double header against Cameroon, Odion Ighalo had a stellar performance for the team and even scored a goal to complement his efforts. He repeated the same feat against Zambia, although he finished the game without scoring.
In the inconsequential game against Algeria, Anthony Nwakaeme was dragged in as a centre-forward but the Apoel Beer Sheva player couldn't get into his rhythm and had a below par performance.
It's instructive to note that out of the 12 goals scored by the Super Eagles in the World Cup qualifiers, only Ighalo's goal against Cameroon can be said to have come from a natural centre-forward. This development has prompted Rohr to embark on a quest for a natural goal poacher.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have also joined in this search. In September, NFF President Amaju Pinnick announced that Nigerian-born and Swansea City striker Tammy Abraham has committed his international future to Nigeria. The tall striker has come out to debunk the claim and has even gone ahead to play for the Three Lions of England.
With Obafemi Martins back in the picture, the speedy striker may play his way into the plans of Gernot Rohr for the World Cup if he can continue his goal scoring foam.