Coach Gernot Rohr Tinkers With Eagles Squad In Second Friendly Against Cameroon

Gernot Rohr

June 08, (THEWILL)- Nigeria’s senior men’s national team, the Super Eagles, will confront continental rivals, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, in the second of their double-header international friendly matches, with Gernot Rohr, the German coach of the Eagles, making some tactical changes to the squad that will start.

In the lead up to the Tuesday evening encounter, Rohr confirmed that the Super Eagles’ captain Ahmed Musa, who returned to the domestic league side Kano Pillars where he began his senior football career, will return to the starting line-up.

THEWILL recalls that in the first clash, the Cameroonians broke their ill luck of never beating Nigeria with a lone goal victory over the Super Eagles at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Austria, with an Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s first-half strike that settled the encounter.

In that match, Musa came on as a substitute midway through the second half and gave the coach enough reason to believe that it will be to the advantage of the team for him to begin on Tuesday evening.

In other changes, Rohr decided to also start APOEL FC goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and Valentine Ozornwafor, who plays in the central defensive position for Turkish side Galatasaray, in the first XI. These changes were considered on the basis of team improvement based on the rationale for the friendlies: to experiment and gather data.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) worked to put these friendlies in place to allow the coach assess the players cohesion and enable a team understanding which will place Nigeria on a stronger footing when the group stages of the qualifiers for Qatar 2022 World Cup kicks off in September with Group C matches against Liberia and Cape Verde.

Rohr made known his assessment of the squad when he said: “Observations are positive because some of the players who arrived from Nigeria were not so fit for the first game. They have now recovered well, and we should be better physically.”

About the changes, Rohr explained: “There will be some changes in the team, Francis Uzoho will be in goal, [Ahmed] Musa will start because he is fit, we lost Troost-Ekong so Valentine [Ozornwafor] will come in for the first time.

“These matches are made to test some players who have not played so much and also to have new organisation maybe try something different and we want to win it also because we have never won in Austria after four games.”

The German coach made it clear what the focus of the tactical bench was for the friendlies, while making sure to note the important absentees: “The most important thing is not the result, the most important is to progress to learn to work.

“We have 16 players who could not come, five central defenders, two defensive midfielders [Joe] Aribo, [Frank] Onyeka and all the strikers could not come, the wingers, [Samuel] Kalu, Henry [Onyekuru], [Victor] Osimhen, Simy [Nwankwo] and [Umar] Sadiq also because of the play-offs.

“It is a different camping but we have some experience now, we are interested in the new players and what they can do in this match against Cameroon.”

The Super Eagles’ second tie with the Indomitable Lions will kick off at 4.00pm local time at the same venue. Then, a month later, on Sunday, July 4, there will be the third international friendly for Gernot Rohr’s charges, who will file out to trade tackles against Mexico in Los Angeles.