Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has laid out what he’s looking for in building a winning Super Eagles…
What is your take on the movement of Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi, to Middlesbrough?
We are very happy to hear this. It is also good to know that he has moved back to Europe where his family is based. I am happy for him, that he’s been able to find a good club. Now, we are going to be watching him because he needs time to get back to match rhythm.
The last time we saw him was at the World Cup and he wasn’t very fit. But he is an integral part of the team and he must be playing regularly to really get back into the team.
Odion Ighalo also is just returning from injury even though his club in China was relegated at the end of last season, do you have any fear about him?
It is the same with Mikel. He had a stop playing in China due to injury. He still has a contract with his club, but I think he also wants to come back to Europe. He is trying at the moment to negotiate a new contract in England or Turkey and I hope he can play again regularly in a good club.
It’s like that for all the other players; they have to be fit, to play all the time to be fit for the national team. But Ighalo did so well with the national team in the last few games, we really hope he comes back very soon.
Two exciting players currently doing well in LaLiga are Samuel Chukwueze and Kenneth Omeruo. Will they get more opportunity in the Super Eagles?
The two are already part of the team, when I invited Chukwueze the last time a lot of people were surprised. But he has a lot of qualities, which he is showing at the moment playing in the LaLiga. Omeruo has also been part of the central defence of the Super Eagles.
He is doing well. He played in Johannesburg against South Africa in our last qualifier. These players are in very good leagues, and are playing regularly. We also have Simon Moses coming back too.
What do you want to say about Francis Uzoho’s lack of action in Spain?
We also have a little problem with our goalkeeper, Uzoho. His club bought a new goalkeeper and that has reduced his chances in the team. I will like to see him play and not be a number two in Spanish second league, that’s why he is trying to seek for a loan somewhere in Europe so as to play regularly. But the level in Spain is very high and we are happy to have some of our players playing very well there.
There was call for the return of Victor Moses into the team, are you looking at that too?
He is a player with a lot of qualities but he decided to stop after the World Cup in Russia. We have to respect his decision, but if he is playing again, and the motivation is coming from him and not from us, because we cannot just ask him to return to the team.
He (Victor Moses) must first be fit, and when he finds motivation to play for us, we’ll give him a chance in the national team. At the moment we have wingers like Samuel Kalu, who recently scored a wonderful goal for his club. We also have Chukwueze, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa at this position, and that’s good for us.
The next game for the Super Eagles is the final AFCON qualifiers against Seychelles and a friendly with Egypt. Are we going to see new players?
We are going to invite the fittest players for the next two games and the best ones in training will play. We can see what they are doing for their clubs. We are going for our best in the two games.
The Nigeria Professional Football League has returned. How soon are we going to see some home-based players in the Super Eagles?
It’s unfortunate that the League was on break for so long. It would not be easy for the players to be fit immediately. But what I saw in the game between MFM and Rangers is interesting. I saw also the result of Rangers and Lobi Stars in African club competitions.
It is good now that they are playing. My assistants and myself are always watching. Imama Amakapabo and Aloy Agu are in different centres watching the players, too. So, if we see very good players we would give them a chance. We are also going to look at the U-20 team that will be starting the AFCON next month. I will be there to watch.