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Gernot Rohr 7 things Super Eagles boss said at his press conference

Ahead of the game against Libya, Rohr faced the media and spoke on a range of issues.

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Gernot Rohr play 7 things Super Eagles's Gernot Rohr said at press conference ahead of the AFCON 2019 qualifiers against Libya (Pulse)

Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr faced the media on Wednesday, October 11 ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Libya.

In the matchday three of the AFCON 2019 qualifiers, Nigeria will host Libya in Uyo on Saturday, October 13 before a return leg in Tunisia on Tuesday, October 16.

Ahead of the game, Rohr faced the media and spoke on a range of issues. These are seven things he said.

1. Not taking Libya lightly

Super Eagles play Rohr says his players are not taking the games against Libya lightly (Twitter/ OgaNlaMedia)

Rohr in his press conference stressed the importance of not taking the game against Libya lightly.

Don’t underrate the team of Libya. They defend very well. We saw the games not only against South Africa but World Cup qualifiers,” Rohr said.

They did very well. They have a problem that they cannot play in their country but it gives them a huge motivation to play for their country.

“They can’t play because of the war in the country.

“We watched what they did. They have a strong defence with a very good goalkeeper. They have players playing abroad, two in the United States, two in Portugal, one in Raja Casablanca in the CAF Confederation Cup, some of them played in CHAN team. We saw in Morocco, they are four or five players from that CHAN team.

“They have an opportunity they are the leaders of the group and want to go to AFCON.

“We don’t underrate this team, we don’t look at the FIFA Ranking, one of our players said it already.”

2. Competition in the left-back position

The Super Eagles left back position was a subject of discussion during the press conference and Rohr pointed out the competition in the position.

Rohr revealed that in addition to the players in the team, he is also looking other left fullbacks who have not been called up yet.

On this position left fullback we have Ola Aina who is playing now at Torino,” Rohr said.

We also have other fullbacks like Idowu who played in the Champions League with Lokomotiv Moscow last week.”

For the left back, the competition is open, we also want a look at other players. We have to make a choice, we have 24 players here and already the choice is difficult to choose the 18 for the game and the 11 starting players who will start the game,” he added.

3. Rohr trusts Collins

play Despite playing in German division two, Rohr said Collins has the qualities to play for Super Eagles (Novi list)

A host of questions were raised when Jamilu Collins an unknown left-back who plays in German division 2 for Paderborn 07 was invited for the AFCON 2019 qualifier against Seychelles in September.

Asked about the player, Rohr revealed that he has watched him several times and has trust in his qualities.

So we have this new player Collins he is a left-footer which is interesting for us. You know Elderson Echiejile does not have a club so he could not come back again,” Rohr said.

“I think Collins has the qualities to play very well for us. Not only because of his left foot but he has a good physique.

“He is quick. He can go forward. I saw him play in Paderborn and I saw his match in Cologne and they won 5-3 and he did very well.

“They have a good team, Paderborn two or three years were in the first division and they want to come back to Bundesliga now and they have a strong team. 

“What I saw from him in the Seychelles camping was good but he had a little injury and he was not 100% to start the game. He stated against Liberia in Monrovia and he was good.”

4. In defence of Ighalo

Angry Nigerians insulted the wife of Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo after After the Super Eagles lost 2-1 to Argentina in their final group D game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. play Rohr has continued to back Odion Ighalo despite continued backlash over his performance at the World Cup (Patrick Smith FIFA FIFA via Getty Images)

Odion Ighalo faced massive vilification following Nigeria’s exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia from irate fans who blamed him for the chances he missed against Argentina.

Despite the backlash he received, he has enjoyed the support of Rohr and has continued to be called up.

For Rohr, Ighalo’s performance for his club Changchun Yatai where he has scored 20 league goals means he continues to get called up.

Ighalo is a player who did very well in the World Cup qualifiers especially against Cameroon the goal he scored,” Rohr said.

He had a World Cup which was not so easy for him but he is doing so well in his club, now more than 20 goals and that is why we invited him again.

“We don’t have the time in three or four days to change our offensive lineup but we invited (Isaac) Success and he is here now, he is able to play in the same position.

“We can also play with two strikers as we did against Iceland We have different tactical possibilities to play in the centre of the attack.

“We have also now Henry Onyekuru who plays in the Champions League with Galatasaray and had a good game in Monrovia and scored a wonderful goal.

5. No home advantage for Libya

Libya national team play Rohr says the Super Eagles have an advantage with Libya playing their home game in Tunisia (Naija Li)

With Libya playing their home game against the Super Eagles in Sfax, Tunisia due to the unrest in their country, Rohr believes the Super Eagles will get a boost with the game being played at a neutral ground.

There is no big crowd surely. Playing already in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, now we are playing in Tunisia," Rohr said.

But Sfax is not so far away from Libyan border so the fans can come but I think they won’t be a big crowd that is perhaps an advantage for us playing in a  neutral group so the players will be free to play their game.

“But you know the Libyan team is used to play like that for a few years and they did very well. They beat Guinea and made a wonderful draw in Tunisia against Tunisia in the last game of the World Cup qualifiers."

6. Why he keeps ignoring NPFL players

Rohr has constantly had to deal with accusations that he does not rate players from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

With only one NPFL player in the Super Eagles 24-man squad for the qualifiers against Libya, Rohr says he could not invite any home-based players because of lack of games.

They don’t have a regular league competition, they stopped three months ago and didn’t play at all in the league apart from some cup games,” Rohr said.

“It’s not a really good condition for players to progress when they are no league and no game.

“They won’t have the same rhythm in training session like their colleagues in Europe.

“We saw some Enyimba players in Monrovia, it was not so bad but the moment now it was not so good to give them time to adapt.

7. Eye on Ambrose

play Rohr says he is watching Efe Ambrose who is impressing at Hibernian in Scotland (Twitter)

Veteran Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose has not been called up to the Super Eagles since Nigeria's 1-0 loss away to Egypt in a AFCON 2017 qualifier in March 2016.

Although he continues to be consistent with Scottish side Hibernian-he was named Hibernian Player of the Month of September- the 29-year-old has continued to be ignored.

When asked about the AFCON winner, Rohr said he is still watching him although the competition in defence might make it difficult for him to make a return to the national team.

We have an eye on him in our scouting team, we are watching what he is doing. In the defence now we have the returning (William) Troost- Ekong who was not here in Seychelles, he is back now,” Rohr said.

We have (Semi) Ajayi who is doing very well at Rotherham United playing all the games. We have (Kenneth) Omeruo now who played for his new club for the first time last week, we have even (Chidozie)Awaziem. we have already five defenders and it is difficult to take more.

“But we are watching him and if he is better than the other ones he will come.”

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