Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, in an interview shortly before the Super Eagles’ 2021 AFCON qualifier against Benin disclosed that head coach Gernot Rohr’s contract renewal depends on his plans for the Nigeria-based players.

His words “Now the NFF would start discussing with Rohr on the renewal of his contract by January.. if he agrees with the clauses, terms and conditions in his contract, the federation will give him a new contract before his current deal expires next year”.

“We will talk about his refusal to pick home-based players because the domestic players need to play for this national team to gain recognition. That way, he can be seen by good foreign clubs.”

“This does not mean that we will impose any player on the coach. If the coach finds any player worthy to play for the Super Eagles in the NPFL, he should use the player.” 
With all due respect to the players in the NPFL, the inescapable truth is that the best of Nigerian players that are eligible to represent the country do not play in the national league- although debatable.

Gernot Rohr with boss Amaju Pinnick. (Backpagepix)

Moreso, the question that President Pinnick should be asked is when did inviting local-based players become one of many things considered to hire the head coach? As the possibility of success for a manager doesn’t depend on the amount of opportunity given to the local players.

One thing is looming right here, frustration. The kind of frustration which saw the erstwhile Super Falcons manager, Thomas Dennerby, complain about interference from the football body which made him refuse to sit with the then-new Minister for Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, and later opted for resignation from the job.

To be fair to the NFF, shall we take a look at some of the “terms and conditions” presented to the Franco-German tactician:

– He will be paid in Naira and not Dollars

– He must reside in Nigeria. Either Lagos or Abuja

– He must monitor the local players by attending Nigerian league fixtures.

The aforementioned terms are sterile, baseless and pointless. First off, when you decide to pay your head coach in Naira and continue to pay the salaries and bonuses of the players in Dollars, what sense does that make?

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Gernot Rohr has been monitoring players at different match centers in the NPFL since he took over – maybe he’s not been doing enough of that – but apparently, the manner in which the NFF has handled this case might just make Gernot Rohr the Champion eventually.

By now, it’s crystal clear that Amaju Pinnick or the board wants this man out of the way, and with the recent utterances of Pinnick and Rohr, it brings about the ironic situation of a manager who wants the job and a President who feels Rohr should go. Make no mistake about it, Gernot Rohr might be doing another Thomas Dennerby on Nigeria.

● By Babajide Adewunmi

Babajide Adewunmi-EverBlazin
April 10, 2020
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