Why I Picked Osimhen To Replace Ighalo – Rohr

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, speaks with correspondent who just returned from Maseru, Lesotho, where the team defeated their host 4-2 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday…

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr / Photo credit: Getty Images
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr / Photo credit: Getty Images

What do you make of the Super Eagles victory against Lesotho, the second after two games?

I want to first thank the people of Lesotho for the hospitality since our arrival, we are grateful to them.

About the match, we knew it would be difficult to play against Lesotho and win especially after we conceded the first goal.

Our opponent played very well in the beginning and we had to run after the game and later take it in our hands.

Later we got our rhythm because at the beginning my players were not concentrating well because we had a long journey before getting to Maseru.

However, in the second half, we changed our organisation and it was better and better.

What I noticed was the fact that my players always have fun when they play football and that is important, because they enjoy playing the game.

Although we won, I will want to say congrats to my colleague; he has a good team which gave us much trouble.

Twice now your team is coming back from a goal down to win, going forward do you think the team will be this lucky again?

In some matches you score first while in another you concede first.

We scored the first goals in our last three matches against Tunisia (ended 1-0 at the AFCON), against Ukraine (it ended 2-2 in a friendly game) and Brazil (ended 1-1 in another friendly encounter) and we did not win apart from the one against Tunisia.

I will prefer to concede first and then win. It is also a proof that my team has a good spirit, they never give up or lose their calm.

They try to play well and not panic despite going behind. You will also agree with me that we have a very young and enthusiastic team which has been keeping them going; even if they concede, they don’t stop.

About the match, we knew it would be difficult to play against Lesotho and win especially after we conceded the first goal. Our opponent played very well in the beginning and we had to run after the game and later take it in our hands

We have seen the defensive partnership between Williams Troost-Ekong and Semilore Ajayi, in the last three games; do you see them continuing like this or we should expect changes?

Actually it is a good partnership but a team can change depending on what the players are doing in their clubs.

We have some players on injury and they didn’t play much; Ahmed Musa just coming back now, Kenneth Omeruo also with same problem.

What we have now is a good competition for starting position which put our level higher.

Victor Osimhen scored a brace and two assists in the win, what would you say to him?

We had the best goal scorer at the last AFCON, Odion Ighalo, who wanted to stop playing for the country and we needed to find a solution.

When I took Osimhen in the list of 23 for the AFCON, many people criticised my decision with some asking why Kelechi Iheanacho was not picked instead.

He, however, learnt a lot in the competition, watching before playing in the last game.

He was able to learn from players like Ighalo, Musa and others with experience, and now he is progressing, playing for a top club in France, Lille, and scoring many goals.

The confidence is there for him and now with a lot of understanding with the other players, it is good for him as a centre forward.

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