Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr, whom many fans already regard as a fantastic and erudite tactician, has his sights now squarely set on taking the Super Eagles to dizzy heights with more scintillating performances at the FIFA World Cup next year in Russia.
Speaking on thenff.com, the one time Sports Director of Eintracht Frankfurt FC said: “If you have to be listed among the best, you have to conquer the better teams and even beat some of the best.”
In qualifying Nigeria for the World Cup, that was exactly what Rohr did.
In a group that had some of the better and best teams in African football – in the shape of Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia, all former African champions – the German tactian’s Eagles conquered them all blemishlessly. If you then add to the mix the sensational 4:2 victory against two times World Cup and forteen times Copa America champions Argentina in a friendly match in November this year, then you have a Super Eagles team being coached to world standards.
Having said all that, Coach Rohr has identified two major deficiencies which he reckons his Eagles will need to be aware of and overcome if they are to go beyond the second round – their best efforts in 1994, 1998 and 2014 – this time around at the World Cup.
Speaking on cafonline.com, the German tactician said: "I believe that African players have the talent, they have the physical and technical possibilities, but what they are missing is organisation, what they are missing is discipline."
The coach has a point.
If you cast your mind back to 1994 World Cup, Nigeria were two minutes plus time-added-on away from a place in the quarter finals. With all the technical abilities of Okocha and co, poor defensive organisation led to Roberto Baggio’s 88 minutes equalizer for the Italians while indiscipline defending contributed to the penalty conceded by Nigeria in extra time which was converted by the same player; The Italians won 2:1.
In 1998 World Cup, organisation and discipline were thrown out of the window as the Super Eagles’
shambolic second round display ended 4:1 in favour of European underdogs Denmark.
In 2014 World Cup second round encounter, the Super Eagles’ defence was not well organised for the corner kick that led to Pogba’s opening goal for France in the 79th minute and lack of discipline could be attributed to Yobo’s own goal in the 92nd minute.
Looking ahead, Super Eagles fans will hope the highly competent Gernot Rohr will continue identifying deficiencies that may stand in the way of progress of the Eagles at the World Cup and implement the right strategies to mitigate and better still eliminate these.