Friday Feb 26, 2021. 13:00
Nigeria national team manager Gernot Rohr has explained his policy of preferring not to play new call-ups in competitive matches.
The Super Eagles boss has rarely dipped into the pool of up-and-coming players in recent times, with the likes of Matthew Yakubu, Dele Alampasu, Sebastian Osigwe, Kevin Akpoguma and Frank Onyeka seeing little to no action in competitive fixtures such as the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for next year’s tournament in Cameroon.
When asked why he invites new players without giving them chances to play, Rohr is quoted by All Nigeria Soccer as saying: “We tried in the last few friendlies and even the international games in Benin City and in Freetown, we had some new players.
“We had some players who decided to come with us, leaving for example Germany U-20, U-23 like Akpoguma, who decided to come with us, it is fantastic.
“But they need the time to come in and it’s not easy in a few training sessions only to find exactly the right way to play with the team, it’s more easier for the other ones who were with us in the World Cup and played with us in the AFCON.
“We have to try to invite better players, friendlies are good for that to see them. When they are friendlies it is not for the result we are playing, we want to see new faces.
“We tried new goalkeepers, new wingers, new defenders and the midfielder from Midtjylland, Onyeka, the Austrian goalkeeper.
“We saw a lot of players in the friendlies but they are not enough, we only have two since one year.
“When you have games that you need results it is not the best moment for the players and for the team to invite new ones.”
Rohr and Nigeria will look to secure a berth at the AFCON when they play their final two Group L qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho late next month.