Monday Nov 18, 2019. 11:00
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr says he has been vindicated in his decision to take Victor Osimhen to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in the wake of his recent performances for the Super Eagles.
The Lille striker struck twice on Sunday as Nigeria won 4-2 in their 2021 qualifier in Lesotho, with Rohr saying the decision to take the then lesser-known Osimhen over the more experienced Kelechi Iheanacho had paid off.
It seems almost inconceivable now, but prior to the tournament Rohr was criticised in many quarters for the move, but he says he was looking for a long-term successor to the retiring Odion Ighalo.
“We had the best goalscorer in the AFCON (Ighalo), he wanted to retire and we had to find a solution,” Rohr said.
“When I took Osimhen to the AFCON as part of the 23-man list, a lot of you (the media) were very critical, they asked why I didn’t take Kelechi for example.
“He learnt a lot in the AFCON, watching, playing in the last match, seeing this very good goalscorer Ighalo, seeing (Ahmed) Musa, and now he is progressing.
“He’s in a good club Lille in France and scoring a lot of goals, confidence is there and this good understanding with the other players is good for a center forward.”