Nigeria finished 2020 as the 35th best team in the world after failing to secure a single victory in the year, but the country’s German tactician is planning for a better 2021
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr says he is keeping tabs on Nigerian players both in the local league and abroad to put together a strong squad capable of picking the points required to qualify for Cameroon 2022.
Nigeria won none of four matches played last year, losing to African champions Algeria in a friendly before playing out a draw against Tunisia in another build-up game.
More shockingly, the three-time African champions also recorded back-to-back draws against Sierra Leone in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, including their not-too impressive performance in Benin City, where they surrendered a four-goal lead.
The qualifiers return in March with Nigeria to travel to the Benin Republic and host Lesotho, needing a point from both games to guarantee their spot in the next edition of the Afcon.
Rohr confirms he has been watching the NPFL and European leagues for fit and quality Nigerian players to prosecute the two qualifying matches.
“We are watching the league games with the NPFL link,” the former Bordeaux coach told the Nation.
“We are also actually watching the CHAN competition in Cameroon where our local players, unfortunately, did not qualify.
“We have 35 players in our scouting list and analyse every weekend their performances.
“The decisive qualifiers will come soon, and it’s the moment to count on our complicity. Ndidi, Kalu, Simon, Etebo and others will be back after injury and make the competition for the starting team very interesting.”
The Super Eagles will play away to the Benin Republic on March 22 and round off their 2021 AFCON qualifying campaign in a home match against Lesotho on March 30.
Nigeria top Group L with eight points while the second-placed Benin Republic have seven points.