Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr in this interview with Soccernet.ng bares his mind on Abraham’s decision To Play For England, backs Osimhen To Shootdown Brazil, why he invited Solomon Otabor and more…Excerpt
How will you rate the preparation of the players in camp ahead of Sunday’s clash against Brazil?
I think the players are in good condition to face Brazil on Sunday in Singapore. They are in the right frame of mind after playing for their respectful clubs in Europe last weekend.
Will the team approach the game like a friendly encounter?
No way. Every game we play will be approached like a cup final regardless of the country we are playing with. Brazil is a very big footballing country in the world and playing against them will afford us the chance to win the encounter. I want to believe that the players will approach the game with all sense of seriousness.
Talking about the players in camp, what is the criterion behind the invitation of Solomon Otabor to the Super Eagles?
Solomon Otabor is a great player and has the potential to add value to the Super Eagles. I have watched him play in Bulgaria and believe he’s a perfect replacement for injured Samuel Kalu. I didn’t think twice before inviting him and I hope he will play his part against Brazil.
Recently, England manager, Gareth Southgate invited Chelsea duo, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori to the squad that will face Czech and Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifiers. Do you feel disappointed with Abraham and Tomori’s decision to represent England and not Nigeria?
Not really. I knew the England manager will want to extend invitations to Abraham and Tomori before us. Besides, the players never showed any sign of interest to represent Nigeria’s Super Eagles. Perhaps, maybe they knew that Southgate will extend invitations to them.
I am not worried because we have players who are capable to deliver the goals for the team. For instance, Victor Osimhen has been impressive with Lille, scoring goals every weekend in the French League. He scored against a big club like Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League and has always been hungry to score goals.
Also, Emmanuel Dennis has been in a goal-scoring form for Club Brugge in Belgium. He netted against another big club, Real Madrid in the Champions League. We also have Paul Onuachu, David Okereke, Henry Onyekuru and to mention a few that are eager to score goals for Nigeria.
Will that ever prevent you from convincing and inviting Nigerian players born abroad to come and play for the Super Eagles?
Definitely not. Abraham and Tomori have made their choice to play for England. But we have many Nigerian players who are willing to change allegiance and represent Nigeria at the international level.
Finally, what should Nigerians expect from the Super Eagles on Sunday against Brazil?
Nigerians should expect the best display from the players and we will try to claim victory against Brazil.