Many fans – not least the Mathematical Segun Odegbami – have called for the sack of German Rohr but results continue to speak in favour of the German-born tactician.
The Super Eagles have made it to the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations for the 15th time in their 18 appearances at the continental championship but this is the first time that feat is achieved since the team last featured in and won the tournament in 2013.
With that, Rohr has silenced many of his critics. His assignments have been pretty clear.
Qualify for the FIFA World Cup? Done, with a game to spare!
Qualify for the Nations Cup? Completed, with a game to spare!
Get to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations? Achieved, winning four of five games!
His minimum targets for each phase of his contracts have been met with a little to spare.
The man deserves a breathing space. A pat on the back, even.
Yes, his men have had a few falls but they have picked themselves up each time and moved forward. After embarrassingly losing to South Africa at home in mid-2017, the Super Eagles hosted and battered the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon by four undiluted goals.
After being outsmarted by Croatia in their opening match at the 2018 World Cup, the team went ahead and flogged Iceland the very next game and only a controversial VAR call denied the Eagles the chance to knockout tournament favourite, Argentina.
Yet again, the team slipped against Madagascar in the last game of the group stages at the ongoing Afcon. Rohr came under a barrage of attacks from home and abroad. And rightly so.
He fielded the players he believed could get him the result. Any team Nigeria parades should be able to convincingly trash a side ranked 108 in the world.
The Malagasy were underrated and a humiliating loss was stomached. The players did not perform up to expectation, failing Gernot Rohr and the country.
But alas, it was all Rohr’s fault.
Like a good manager should, the 66-year-old took all the criticisms in his stride and, together with his players, went back to the drawing board.
What the Super Eagles produced afterwards was a beauty – the best game of the tournament. That comeback victory over the defending champions was even bettered by the controlled performance to send the Bafana Bafana back to South Africa in the quarterfinals.
The Nigeria national men football team that we have seen and enjoyed these last two games is close to the side all her supporters desire and can be proud of.
It can out-think, out-wit and out-fight the best sides on this continent and probably beyond. Obviously, this team has risen to the occasion whenever needed. And when the pressure is at its maximum, that is when it soars.
For that, Gernot Rohr should be appreciated. Maybe, with a new contract even. Evidence at hand in the last three years has revealed that Gernot Rohr may not be a great tactician but he is a fine man-manager.
He may be inflexible and a not-so-good reader of the game but he handles this team in a way that gets results.
Gernot Rohr is not Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp, that we all know, but he has shown enough character needed to take this Super Eagles to the next level. And that is all that matters.
In my mind, Gernot Rohr has hit the minimum target: a semi-final place. I expected no less, and I will accept anything more as a 'bonus'.
Not a huge fan, and still feel our full potential is stymied by him, but he's hit the mark and deserves credit.#Afcon2019
— Solace Chukwu (@TheOddSolace) July 10, 2019