Saturday Aug 28, 2021. 10:00
Former Nigerian international Garba Lawal says Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr has no excuses ahead of the upcoming 2022 World Cup Qualifying programme.
Drawn in Group C, Nigeria will come up against Liberia, Cape Verde and Central African Republic in the next three international windows, with only the top team advancing to the final playoff round of qualifiers in March next year.
First up for the Super Eagles will be Liberia in Lagos on September 3, followed by Cape Verde in Mindelo four days later.
Nigeria, like many African nations, have seen their preparations affected by British and European clubs preventing players from travelling to so-called ‘red list’ countries.
This means that the Super Eagles are set to be without the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho for their trip to Cape Verde.
However, Lawal argues that Rohr has had plenty of time to test out other players and should not use this complication as an excuse.
“I believe Mr. Rohr can’t say with all what is going on we can’t play football, if plan A it’s not working, you deploy plan B,” said Lawal, as quoted by Complete Sports.
“The way he decides to manage the games depends solely on him, we are not panicking – Rohr had spent four to five years in Nigeria, so he ought to have known how to unravel a headway in situations like this.
“That’s why we kept insisting always, he uses new players during friendly games. Cape Verde is a strong side that’s why it is very important you have tested new players for times like this.”
Meanwhile, Rohr has admitted the difficulty that faces his team and acknowledges that the first two games early next month are vital.
“We will be ready in September for the World Cup qualifiers,” the German tactician is quoted by Punch [https://punchng.com/shape-up-or-ship-out-rohr-cautions-eagles-benchwarmers/].
“We have to start well in Lagos and four days later, we play in Cape Verde.
“Cape Verde beat Cameroon 3-1 on their synthetic pitch recently. So, we know already that it will be very difficult. Our first two matches are very, very important.”