Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr has stressed that the Nigerian team have already met his own minimum target of qualifying for the semi-final stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations ongoing in Egypt.
Rohr told journalists in Cairo International Stadium that he knew that the Eagles’ current third place in the African rankings can only be maintained by at least qualifying for the last four of the competition. The head coach noted that he had to make a few changes to ensure that he clipped the wings of the South Africans and that he was happy that one of his two newly introduced players emerged as the Man of the Match while then other played very well to cage the Bafana Bafana danger man, Percy Tau
. “We have a very young team and we tried to play very good football,” Rohr told journalists. “We changed our game a little bit with two left-footed players coming in. One of them, Chukwueze was even the man of the match and the other one, Jamilu Collins played very well on the left side position.
“We are happy because it was in this wonderful stadium. We know that Egypt is a little bit sad and disappointed but I hope that we can give them good football to play and in a spectacular way.” Rohr expressed caution regarding the feeling back home in Nigeria that the Eagles are now good for the title after they muscled their way into the last four. “I hope so but we must win the semi-final first before dreaming of winning the cup. It will be a tough game either Algeria or Cote ‘d’ Ivoire. “Our target was to go get to the semi-final stage because we are number three in Africa so we have to be in this position also to be on that level. But it was so difficult because the game was very close. “We had to wait until the last minute to score a second goal. We didn’t score the second goal in the first half but in the second half, we were punished. We are looking forward to the next game and are very happy about this victory. We can watch the game between Algeria and Cote d’Ivoire with relaxed minds.
“It was not easy to pull out two players from the winning team against
Cameroon,” he added. “I decided to do that even though it was a risk but I think in a team we need a left-footed player but against Cameroon, we didn’t have. When Chukwueze came in against Cameroon it was a better game for us in the second half. “It was logical to start the game with Chukwueze. I took a risk to start with Collins because it was his first game after his injury a day before our first game with Burundi. “He told me he was fit and he did a good job against Percy Tau. The loss to Madagascar was our joker. We could lose it because we have already qualified for the next round. “We wanted to allow others in the team to play as well. We can forget about the defeat to Madagascar now because we are through to the semi-final. Even the defeat helped us to be more humble and sometimes it is good also.”