Officials at Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) were left stunned to hear news of the death of the mother of Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr, as many of them confessed they never knew the gaffer’s mum was still alive, such that hearing about the demise of Madam Elisabeth Rohr hit The Glasshouse like a sledgehammer on Thursday.
The report disclosed that Rohr’s mother died at 97, much to the shock of several top guns at the Nigerian soccer governing body, who then hurriedly rushed condolence messages to the Franco-German tactician, who guided the Eagles to third place at the recent 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, and has a contract that runs till 2020.
Just this past Tuesday, Rohr’s team played out a pulsating 2-2 draw against Ukraine in a high-profile international friendly game at Dnipro Arena, only to be hit with news of his mother’s passing two days later, leaving NFF top shots wondering about the development, especially as the coach is already 66 years old (born June 28, 1953)
Rohr, though, again came up for aspersions from Nigerians, who was taken aback seeing the Eagles give up a two-goal lead before settling for the draw, with the gaffer again accused on failing to be decisive, always tentative and insipid in his approach to matches, especially his hesitations in making substitutions, even during friendlies.
However, despite facing critical verdicts from Nigerian fans and pundits alike, Rohr has a rich coaching pedigree, which began in 1996, when he handled Girondins-Bordeaux of France to the UEFA Cup final, where they lost to Bayern Munich of Germany over two legs.
Bordeaux’s run to the final included a famous 3-0 win over AC Milan in the quarter-finals, but they then lost twice to Munich, , 0–2 away and 1–3 at home, before the gaffer then moved on to work in Germany from October 1998 to April 1999 as sports director with Eintracht Frankfurt.
After an anti-climactic stint with Étoile du Sahel of Tunisia, which ended on May 15, 2009, Rohr was on June 9, 2009 named head coach of FC Nantes of France, but he was sacked on December 3, 2009, only to pop up again on February 21, 2010 as the replacement for fellow-Frenchman, Alain Giresse as Gabon’s national team coach.
His African sojourn continued at Niger Republic in September 2012, but he resigned in October 2014, then moved to Burkina Faso few months later, only to be sacked on December 22, 2015, after which he was shortlisted for Guinea’s national team job in July 2016 but he did not get it.
In August 2016, he was named Eagles’ coach and won his first game in charge, defeating Tanzania by a lone goal in Uyo, after which his first defeat came at the same venue on June 10, when his side fell 2-0 to South Africa in the first match of the AFCON 2019 qualifiers.
However, on October 7, 2017, Rohr’s team became the first African side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, after a 1–0 win against Zambia, then pulled off the same feat in reaching the Nations Cup, where they won bronze on July 17 this year, such that the NFF felt duty-bound to rush out a condolence message on social media over the death of his mother.
The NFF stated: “We commiserate with @NGSuperEagles Head coach, Mr. Gernot Rohr who just lost his mother Madam Elisabeth Rohr. She was 97. May her soul rest in peace.”