NFF defends Coach Gernot Rohr’s continued residence in Europe, Eagles’ foreign camps

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday defended Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr’s preference to work from Europe, saying the arrangement is to help the coach discover and select credible foreign-based players for the senior national team.

Some football followers have criticized the Franco-German manager for his preference for foreign-based players and his continued stay in Europe when Super Eagles matches are played in Nigeria. Rohr is also accused of not helping to develop the domestic league with his vast experience in African football unlike his counterpart in Cameroon, who monitors happenings in the country’s local scene. Some of the criticism is that Rohr’s stay in Europe scouting for players of Nigerian descent has yielded little result. It has also been argued that funds used in camping the team in France before the disastrous AFCON qualifier against South Africa would have served the country better if the team trained in Nigeria before the game.

Reacting to these allegations, Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, said Rohr had never shied away from contributing to the development of Nigerian football. He explained that the Eagles’ boss has been spending more time in Europe to enable him discover and select players that would be used to qualify the team for the major championships. Ibitoye reasoned that it would be difficult for Rohr to get the right players for the Eagles if the right steps were not taken, adding that it was not fair for some people to accuse Rohr of not focusing on the Nigerian league.

“The issue of Rohr only using foreign-based players for the World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers and neglecting players in the domestic league is being over flogged. The coach works mainly with the foreign-based players they are the best available for now. “You cannot expect him to be in Nigeria when all the players he needs are in Europe. Rohr decided to leave the country after the South Africa game to focus on the World Cup tie against Cameroon. He was in Russia to watch the last Confederation Cup group game between Germany and Cameroon. “Despite the fact that the leagues are on break, the coach would also visit some players he would want to use in the game against Cameroon. These are players based in Nigeria.”

Ibitoye posited that Rohr’s assistants were always on ground to work for him, adding that the coach would be in Nigeria when CHAN qualifiers begin.