The new Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has meet with the Head Coach and some back room staff of the team by the side of Trofeo Ramon de Carranza Cup competition in Cadiz featuring the Nigeria Professional Football League All Stars under the sponsorship of LaLiga World.
He was received by the 2nd Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Chairman of the League Management Company, Shehu Dikko, and Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chris Green.
Rohr arrived Spain on Friday on time to see the NPFL All-Star encounter with Malaga FC in which the team lost 1-4.
He thereafter accompanied the players and coaches to board at the NH Hotel in Jerez where they are accommodated. Rohr spent time with the NFF and LMC officials on Friday evening and sat on Saturday morning with Head Coach Salusi Yusuf and assistant at the tournament, Abdul Maikaba of Wikki Tourists, for a breakfast meeting.
Speaking with Sportstalkafrica.com, Rohr said he has come to have his first official feel of the job, explaining that his first move is to speak with his technical team.
“I have come to see my first game as Technical Adviser of Nigeria and to meet the staff of the team to speak with them about our work. The first thing for me is to do a diagnosis of Nigerian football and the national team and then meet with the players and the staff and we will together plot the movement forward.”
Asked about his impression with the All-Star team which he watched play against Malaga, the German born coach said he was not particularly fazed by their 1-4 loss.
“The performance was a representation of the Nigeria football league but it’s fine to have this game in Spain for international experience. Yes, it was a difficult game for this young team. They lost 4-1 but they missed some (Enyimba FC) players who had to go. So, I know it was not easy against this very good Spanish team. It was also very windy and difficult for them to play but I hope the next game will be better.”
Also speaking on the performance of his team so far in the LaLiga World Tour, Ciach Salusi Yusuf said the entire team of players and coaches have learnt vital lessons.
“I learnt greatly against Valencia, the free flowing football, but more than that is the speed of the passes on the ground and the ability to locate your man with the quick passes. It is a process. It is something they have been doing over years and has become a sort of playing culture for the team.
“Against Malaga, we observed that our boys were weak. When Malaga collects the ball, you see how they press us. We have learnt lessons which is good for us, good for the boys and good for the league. The boys selected are good players and maybe next time when we have this kind of opportunity, we will do better because we have learnt lessons.”
Salusi however attributed high margin defeat of the team to Malaga FC to its depletion following the departure of five Enyimba FC players on the morning of the game to join their club for a crucial CAF Champions League engagement with Zamalek of Egypt.
Five Enyimba FC players left the team for Egypt and their captain, Chinedu Udoji, was particularly missed as he proved most matured against Valencia FC, staving off and stopping many goal threats in the All Star opening game in Alzira last Wednesday.
“The departure of some players from the team also affected us. Because of the shortage of players we had to play some of them out of position. It was a bit of distraction but we have no choice. We will do the same thing against Athletico Madrid on Saturday. Maybe next time we will come with more players or not bring players who will have continental assignments with their clubs because we have to maintain the balance of the team always but now the team has no balance.”
Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chris Green, also corroborated the position of the Gernot Rohr and Salusi Yusuf on the objective of the All Stars LaLiga World Tour.
“It is an experience and also revealing. It is worth all the troubles because we actually came here to expose the boys and our coaches to this clime. We didn’t expect to win the matches but if we do it is okay. The important thing is the exposure. For the boys, playing alongside players that they had taken as their idols, possibly playing against Fernando Torres, seeing coach like Diego Simone on the bench, is good exposure and, gradually, they are coming over their stage fright.
“There was a remarkable improvement from their first game. That means that as we continue with this kind of exposure, they will get there. Today, the exposure they got could not be bought with money. It is good for us in the long run. Despite the result, the future is very bright for the boys.”