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Nigeria goalkeeper Ezenwa 'will never forget Rohr' in his life

20:02 GMT+3 13/12/2021
Gernot Rohr - Nigeria
The NFF ended their five-year working relationship with the German coach on Sunday

Super Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has described Gernot Rohr as a 'great father" following his dismissal as the national team coach.

The 2013 African champions parted ways with Rohr on Sunday after a virtual meeting of the Nigeria Football Federation, which approved the appointment of Austin Eguavoen as the interim technical director.

Ezenwa, in a chat with GOAL, reflected on Rohr’s time as Nigeria coach and the opportunities he received from the German coach who was appointed in August 2016.

As a result of Carl Ikeme's health issues, the Heartland shot-stopper took up the challenge to be the Super Eagles no. 1 and his impressive performances helped the Super Eagles qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Ezenwa produced outstanding performances as Nigeria avoided defeats against Algeria, Zambia and Cameroon in the four matches he played.

He was later included in Rohr’s final squad for the World Cup in Russia and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

“He is one man in my life that I will never forget. Gernot Rohr is a good man, a great father,” Ezenwa told GOAL.

“I said so because I worked with him right from 2016 when he came into this country to 2021. He is a man who sees players as his kids, with his management style.

“He might not be the best, but no one is perfect that is why I said coaching is like hiring and firing.

“Today, I can tell my children that it was Gernot Rohr who took me to the World Cup, to the Africa Cup of Nations and to the World Cup qualifiers where I played the game that changed my story against Cameroon. He made the decision that I was going to keep and he said he believed in me. I will never forget him.

“Salisu Yusuf is also a good man, same as Austin Eguavoen who I worked with at Sharks FC. He is a man that has respect for his players. These coaches are wonderful professionals.”

Ezenwa, however, does not see the Super Eagles job as permanent employment for any coach.

“The coaching career is like hiring and firing so whenever you get to that level, just know that you might be in a place today and not be there the following day,” he added.

“The NFF have taken their decision and Rohr was just an employee.”

Interim technical director Austin Eguavoen and chief coach Salisu Yusuf are expected to get Nigeria ready for their Afcon campaign in Cameroon.

The Super Eagles are scheduled to play Egypt in their opening Group D match on January 11.