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Africa Cup of Nations

Rohr: I would have led Nigeria to Afcon 2021 glory

11:37 PM IST 16/12/21
Gernot Rohr
The German tactician was fired as head coach of the Super Eagles a few weeks to the commencement of the biennial African football showpiece

Gernot Rohr believes he would have led Nigeria to win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon.

The German was fired after five years in charge of the three-time African champions by the Nigeria Football Federation, with Augustine Eguavoen named as a temporary replacement.

Before he was axed, the 68-year-old came under heavy criticism from Nigerians after the Super Eagles struggled but eventually advanced from Group C in the second round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

When asked if he could have led Nigeria to a fourth African diadem had he not been shown the way out: Rohr told ESPN: “Of course! Last time we made third.

“We had a good Afcon, we lost in the semi-final in the last second. This time, I'm sure it would have been better because the team has been growing together for five years and we had our different strategies, and the tactics were becoming more and more efficient.

“And I think even without me, they will do it, they can do it because this team is young, is intelligent, and they can fight.

“They love their fatherland and they will be able to do very well at the next Afcon.”

He went on to suggest NFF had no reason to fire him because he had achieved his targets.

“The target in the Afcon was for me to reach the final. So, if I don't get to the final in the Afcon, they could have a reason to sack me,” he continued.

“I'm sure that I would have got to the final but of course it's not 100% sure.

“I believe we could have had a good Afcon and also prepare for the World Cup through these six or seven weeks where we are working together, and the team can come closer and have more complicity, more harmony, and better football.

“And this would be very good preparation because the most important thing is to go to the World Cup.

“I'm sure that the team is able to do it because the team is getting better and better. We have one of the youngest teams in African football, and that is what I told [the NFF].”

Eguavoen – who will lead Nigeria to Cameroon 2021 - will be assisted by Salisu Yusuf (chief coach), Paul Aigbogun (assistant coach), Joseph Yobo (assistant coach); Terry Eguaoje (assistant coach) and Aloysius Agu (goalkeeper trainer).

The Super Eagles are zoned in Group D that boasts Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau. They will commence their campaign against Egypt on January 11 at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.