Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr has expressed delight with the quality of players on offer for him in the Nigerian national team, as he acknowledged how the squad’s vast array of talents gives him a lot of depth and opportunities for variations during matches.
The Franco-German gaffer hinted further that having so many good players plying their trade with top clubs across Europe and other continents makes it possible for him to have a highly formidable depth of choices and rich pool of alternatives to choose from, with equally useful replacements ready to step in for anyone that is not available.
While hinting at the scenario that has seen three players horridly called up for next week’s international friendly against Ukraine, due to forced withdrawals by Tyronne Ebuehi, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi and Kenneth Omeruo, Rohr also pointed out that he faced a similar situation of needing to make quick alterations to his plans when Samuel Kalu and Jamilu Collins were not available for the first two matches of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The former Gabon, Niger Republic and Burkina Faso handler recalled that Kalu and Collins were both billed to start the Eagles’ first match at AFCON 2019, but the winger slumped in training due to ill health and the left-back copped a knock, which meant the coach had to think quickly in reaching a decision on other options available to him.
While Collins returned for the last three matches, and helped the Eagles win bronze, Kalu could start only one match, which was against Madagascar, then got a cameo outing in the third place game versus Tunisia; both of which Rohr said had not been part of his general structure and pre-competition plans for the team at the continental soccer showpiece.
The former Bayern Munich of Germany and Girondins-Bordeaux of France defender posited that the Eagles’ ability to go all the way to the semi-finals with an alternative and hurriedly executed plan showed the value in depth and quality players variously available to the team.
Rohr told Gold FM: “(Kalu) was expected in the starting team, like Collins, who was injured the same day, the day before the match.
”We had to replace these two boys at the last moment, at the last moment. And we still won our first two games of the Africa Cup of Nations, and we were still qualified.”