Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr has given a special word of thanks to his midfielders for the role they played in turning around Saturday’s epic round of 16 clash against Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations.
With The Indomitable Lions leading 2-1 at half time, after the Eagles’ defenders slipped up in mammoth proportions and gave away Nigeria’s lead, Rohr said it was a relief seeing his midfielders rise to the occasion in the second half.
The Franco-German gaffer admitted that Nigeria needed a massive turnaround after the break, as loss of stability and poor concentration by his defenders caused two goals conceded by his team during the first half.
That was despite the fact that Nigeria took the lead in the 19th minute, when Odion Jude Ighalo’s close-range shot was deflected beyond Andre Onana but the first half ended in dramatic fashion with the defending champions netting twice in the final five minutes.
Rohr then praised Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Alex Iwobi for their efforts in the second half, as he noted that spirited efforts from the midfielders eventually turned the game around in Nigeria’s favour.
He pointed out: “In the second half, we tried to have a better organization in the midfield and also to believe still in the victory, players were disappointed at half-time but my young team did not give up and continued to fight.
”We had better organization in the midfield in the second half, I must say that we had two days more to prepare for the match, towards the end of the second half we had a little bit more fitness than them.
”Just after the Madagascar match we had some few days, we didn’t want to lose this match, we wanted to finish first in the group and avoid a team like Cameroon, we could not.
”We wanted to give competition to some of our players and I am very happy with the players that lost to Madagascar but could not participate today.
”This victory was a difficult match, everybody knows Cameroon have a very good team, we dominated in the beginning, scored a good goal and then in the end of the first half there was a lack of concentration and Cameroon got their goals.”