Former Green Eagles goalkeeper, Andrew Aikhomogbe, in this interview with Soccernet’s, Augustine Aikhilomen from his base in Cairo, Egypt, bares his mind on why Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) must retain Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr, blames Daniel Akpeyi For Algeria’s defeat, his greatest achievements in football. Excerpts:
How would you rate the performance of the Super Eagles at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations?
Well, they did their best. I am impressed with their performance at the Nations Cup in Egypt and I am glad that they came home with the bronze medal.
In doing their best, would you blame the Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr for the team’s failure to beat Algeria in the Semi-Final?
I can’t blame him for what happened to the super Eagles because what happened to him can happen to any coach. The goalkeeping department was the major problem we had at the tournament.
Are you saying that the three goalkeepers Rohr took to AFCON are not good enough?
Well, if I may say the truth the goalkeeper didn’t give his best against Algeria in the semi-final. I expected him to have kept the team in the game but then, that’s football.
Which of the goalkeepers failed the team in Egypt?
The one that kept in the game Nigeria lost against Algeria.
Do you mean Daniel Akpeyi?
Why are you rating him very low?
Not that I am rating him very low but the match against Algeria he never put up his best for the country.
Does that mean he was the reason why we lost against Algeria?
If I may say yes, of course, he is the reason why we lost.
But the goals are not his fault considering the fact that William Troost-Ekong scored an own goal…
The purpose of a goalkeeper is to save all balls. And a goalkeeper can be a match-winner also. So I am still going to stand on my judgment because I expected much from him being our number one goalkeeper at the tournament.
Which of the players didn’t play up to your expectations?
Well, I don’t want to call names.
Generally, with the third-place finish of the Super Eagles in Egypt, will you support the idea that Rohr should be sack or retain?
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) knows better. Well for me they should retain him.
Because he’s a good coach.
On what basis of his achievements will you back your support for him?
He took the team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and qualified Nigeria to the 2019 African Cup Of Nation in Egypt the same time. That’s a good record for me.
Away from Super Eagles and Rohr, what is your reaction to Solomon Dalung’s omission from Minister of Sports in Nigeria?
Well, I can talk about that now. Only President Muhammadu Buhari knows why he omitted him.
So what is the way forward for our football?
The way forward is to put the right people that know about football in all the department.
What will you consider as your biggest achievement as far as playing for Nigeria is a concern?
My biggest achievement is playing in all the national team from under 17 to under 20 to under 23 to the super Eagles.