Is it true that Gernot Rohr makes very late substitutions?


One of the most widely discussed criticisms levelled against Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr is that he makes substitutions too late in most of his matches to be of any use.


But, is this true or is it just a myth that has no basis?


Timely Substitutions Defined


Generally, the first 2 key substitutions in most football matches tend to be made between 60 - 85 minutes unless a player gets injured earlier.


A third substitute (usually to kill time as part of a gamesmanship strategy) will usually be made between 85 and 90 minutes plus extra time.


Now, Gernot Rohr took over the Super Eagles in 2016 and in that time has overseen over 30 games for Nigeria.


let me now examine Rohr's substitute pattern in his games per season and then offer my findings at the end of this piece.


2016-17 Season:



1) Nigeria vs Tanzania (03.09.16) : 63, 73, 84 minutes substitutions. Timely substitutions.


2) Nigeria vs Zambia (09.10.2016) : 73, 83, 90 minutes substitutionsi. Reasonably timely substitutions.


3) Nigeria vs Algeria (12.11.16) : 66, 75, 93 minutes. Timely and effective substitutions as Musa provided an assist for the 3rd goal as a sub.


4) Nigeria vs Senegal(23.03.17): 25, 61,61,75 minutes. Very timely substitutions.


5) Nigeria vs Togo(01.6.17): 46,46,58, 58,70,70,70,83, 87 minutes. Very helpful and timely substitutions as it allowed us to see what players like Uche Agbo, Sikiru Olatubosun, Mu'azzam and Dele Alampasu had to offer.


6) Nigeria vs South Africa (10.6.17): 59, 71, 85 minutes. Timely substitutions.


2017-18 Season:



7) Nigeria vs Cameroon (01.09.17): 61, 69, 83 minutes. Timely and effective substitution as Iheanacho scored as a sub.


8) Cameroon vs Nigeria (04.09.17) : 64,79,86 minutes. Timely substitutions.


9) Nigeria vs Zambia (07.10.17) : 30,66, 80 minutes. Ruthlessly effective substitutions as Alex Iwobi (a player after my heart) scored the winning and solitary goal as a sub. That goal more or less sealed world cup qualification.


10) Algeria vs Nigeria (10.11.17) : 71 and 81 minutes. Although FIFA awarded this match Algeria as punishment to Nigeria's lack of proper record keeping, Rohr had given Anthony Nwakaeme 20 minutes to show what he offers his Super Eagles.


11) Argentina vs Nigeria (04.11.17) : 46, 46, 46, 61, 70, 87 minutes. Smashingly superb substitutions as Idowu scored and Musa assisted both as subs.


12) Poland vs Nigeria (23.03.18) : 59, 65, 74, 78, 82, 89 minutes. Reasonable substitutions.


13) Nigeria vs Serbia (27.03.18): 46, 77, 77, 85, 85, 89 minutes. I think this subs were made late. All the ones that came in after 46 minutes could have been introduced earlier moreso as it is a friendly match.


14) Nigeria vs Congo (28.05.18): 46, 46, 46, 66, 73, 76 minutes. Timely substitutions.


15) England vs Nigeria (02.06.18): 46, 46, 46, 46, 63, 77 minutes. The change in formation and injection of fresh legs helped Nigeria score a goal and kept England from scoring.


16) Nigeria vs Czech Republic (06.06.18): 46, 69, 69, 70, 80 minutes. Timely substitutions.


17) Nigeria vs Croatia (16.06.18): 62, 73, 88 minutes. Reasonably timed substitutions which slightly mirrors Croatia' substitutions made in 60, 78 and 86 minutes.


18) Nigeria vs Iceland (22.06.18) : 46, 85, 90 minutes. The timing of these substitutions isn't all together unreasonable as Nigeria was already coasting to a 2:0 victory by the time of the last 2 substitutions which were introduced as part of a gamesmanship strategy to frustrate the Icelandic players.


19) Nigeria vs Argentina (26.06.18) : 46, 90, 90 minutes. The last 2 substitutions were introduced too late to be of any effect to Nigeria's efforts of gaining a positive outcome from the match.


2018-19 Season:



20) Seychelles vs Nigeria (08.09.18) : 64, 74, 85 minutes. Reasonably timed substitutions. Seychelles substitutions were made in 60 and 87 minutes.


21) Nigeria vs Libya (13.10.18) : 19, 76, 81 minutes. Reasonably timed substitutions.


22) Libya vs Nigeria (15.10.18) : 75, 81, 90 minutes. Reasonably timed substitutions in that by the time of the second substitution, Nigeria was already leading 3:0.


23) South Africa vs Nigeria (17.11.18) : 69, 87, 90 minutes. The first substitution was timely. The other two were sent in to see the game out. South Africa only made one substitution in 61 minutes.


24) Nigeria vs Uganda (20.11.18): 46, 46, 46, 68, 75, 89 minutes. Well timed substitutions.


25) Nigeria vs Seychelles (22.03.19): 65, 72, 87 minutes. Well timed substitutions. Seychelles made their substitutions in 71, 81, and 82 minutes.


26) Nigeria Vs Egypt (26.03.19) : 46, 68, 73, 88, 90, 90 minutes. The key substitutions were made in good time.


27) Nigeria vs Zimbabwe (08.06.19): 46, 46, 46, 63, 74, 86 minutes. The bulk of the substitutions were made in a timely manner.


28) Nigeria vs Senegal (16.06.19): no less than 6 substitutions were made as Gernot Rohr tried out several players in this friendly match.


29) Nigeria vs Burundi (22.06.19) : 42, 68, 73 minutes. The introduction of Ighalo in 73 minutes proved to be an inspired one as the much criticised centre forward scored the only and winning goal just 4 minutes later.


30) Nigeria vs Guinea (26.06.19) : 76, 88, 90. In the context of this encounter, the substitutions were reasonably timed in the sense that Nigeria was leading by the time all subs were made. Guinea's subs were made in 72, 73 and 83 minutes.


31) Nigeria vs Madagascar (30.06.19): 46, 69, 73 minutes. The substitutions here were well timed. Madagascar made their subs in 62, 73 and 86 minutes.


32) Nigeria vs Cameroon (06.07.19) : 60, 85, 90 minutes substitutions. These substitutions were well timed in the context of this encounter. By the time the last 2 substitutions were made, Nigeria was leading 3:2. They were introduced to help see out the match.


33) Nigeria vs South Africa (10.7.19) : 81, 90 minutes. Rohr elected to make just 2 late substitutions in this encounter as perhaps he might have been expecting it to go to extra time which would make the lateness of the subs make much sense.


34) Nigeria vs Algeria (14.07.19) : 78 minutes. Only one substitution was made with the match being 1:1 and seemed destined for extra time. This makes sense to me because there was the possibility of the match going to extra time. Algeria, on their part, made no substitute in this encounter (which makes their coach's thinking slightly in line with Rohr's).


35) Nigeria vs Tunisia (17.07.19) : 46, 75, 90 minutes. Reasonably timed substitutions.


2019-20 Season:


36) Ukraine vs Nigeria (10.09.19) : 70, 73, 82, 87, 90 minutes substitutions. The bulk of the substitutions were made within reasonable timeframes as Nigeria were leading for the most parts. You don't necessarily change a winning team quickly, even in friendly matches.


37) Nigeria vs Brazil (13.10.19) : 63, 74, 79, 84, 89, 90 minutes substitutions. These substitutions were quite reasonable owing to the fact that Rohr was hoping to contain the Brilliant Brazilians. These subs were reasonably spaced out.


38) Nigeria vs Benin (13.11.19) : 74, 78, 86 minutes substitutions. Reasonably timed substitutions substitutions. Benin only made 1 substitution in 82 minutes.


39) Lesotho vs Nigeria (17.11.19) : 66, 71, 78 minutes substitutions. Well timed and reasonably spaced out substitutions. Lesotho's last substitution was also made in 78 minutes.


Conclusion:


From all the data I collected, collated and presented above about Rohr’s substitution pattern since he took over as Super Eagles coach, I can draw the following conclusions.


1. Rohr’s substitutions are timely for most of the matches that he has presided as Super Eagles coach.


2. Rohr’s substitution timings have been consistent with that of other coaches of Super Eagles’ opposing teams.


3. Records have it that Rohr’s substitution timings and patterns in the 2019 Afcon are fairly consistent with Keshi’s patterns in Afcon 2013. The only slight difference is that Keshi’s first substitution were at times made between 50 and 60 minutes.


4. I can now conclusively report that allegations of Rohr’s persistent late substitutions are baseless.


5. Some of Rohr’s substitutions have proved to be inspiring as the substitues have contributed to goal scoring efforts






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