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Africa Cup of Nations

NFF president Pinnick claims Super Eagles lacked discipline under Rohr

20:13 GMT+3 13/12/2021
Amaju Pinnick
After five years, the 68-year-old ended his journey with the three-time African champions on Sunday

The president of the Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick suggested Gernot Rohr lost control of his team's discipline before he was sacked as Super Eagles coach.

Nigeria struggled to impress in their last few games during the second round of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers but they still managed to finish at the top of Group C to advance to the final qualifying round.

Pinnick added that the decision taken by the NFF Executive Committee on Sunday was to prevent "a disaster" in the national team ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next month.

During his stay at the helm of Super Eagles’ affairs, Rohr led Nigeria to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia and the 2019 Afcon in Egypt where they won bronze.

In 2020, Rohr agreed to cut his salary as he penned a two-year contract extension to remain with the West African country.

In defending the NFF’s decision, Pinnick told Channels TV: “He [Rohr] happens to be the longest-serving manager of the Super Eagles. We gave him all the support but we didn’t want to wait for a disaster to happen before parting ways. The last two games were very tough games for us.

“It wasn’t an individual decision; it was a collective decision by the entire executive committee. We were winning our games… there are a lot of things we took into cognisance. When you part ways, you don’t want to start ascribing blames; you just let it go and face the future with renewed hope and renewed zeal.

“We did everything that we could, but one major factor was that discipline in the team is lost practically. In the dressing room, discipline in the team was at its lowest edge and once you remove discipline, that foundation in the team has cracked.

“Players now talk back at you, players believe that they are indispensable. A lot of factors that will now militate against the team.”

Before his dismissal, the German coach called out the NFF for unpaid bonuses and salaries but Pinnick, on Monday, added that they are gradually clearing the backlog of payments.

“We are only owing about two matches of all the matches they played in both Afcon qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers,” he said.

“For Gernot Rohr, I know we paid him for about five months. We were owing him for a couple of months, then we cleared about five months.”

Former Nigeria coach Austin Eguavoen has been appointed as interim technical director to lead the Super Eagles' preparations for the 2021 Afcon in Cameroon.

The Super Eagles are in Group D with Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.