2019 AFCON: Gernot Rohr Lacks Charisma – Odegbami

BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – Nigeria’s ex-international and 1980 African Nations Cup gold medallist, Segun Odegbami is worried the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr lacks the charisma to give Nigerians hope of delivering sterling performances to cart home the continental title at the ongoing 2019 AFCON in Egypt.
Odegbami, who featured for the famous IICC Shooting Stars (now 3SC) of Ibadan during his hey days, insists that the German Technical Adviser has been unable to exude the kind of confidence required by a quality side like the Super Eagles to perform on the big stage.
He said competing favourably against top sides on the continental or global stage demands active involvement of the Coach as the 12th player on the pitch whenever the Eagles are playing.

Speaking on the Super Eagles’ performance in their AFCON, opener against Burundi, Odegbami noted that Rohr must strike the right chord and rhythm needed for the Eagles’ players to give their all in the tournament.

Odegbami, who was guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said Coach  Rohr lacks the temperament needed to manage a side as big as the Super Eagles

According to the man, nicknamed ‘Mathematical Odegbami’; “Players have to go out and play for the coach. But in this case, you don’t see the Coach as the 12th player. Look at Liverpool’s coach, Jurgen Klopp, he plays along with his players. It’s like he is there by the side of the field directing them on what to do and all of that. That’s the kind of coach we need. That was what Westerhof used to do.”

He however argued that Nigerian coaches have indeed come of age and should therefore be given the chance to prove their mettle rather that the current attitude of football administrators always being in a hurry to engage foreign handlers at the slightest opportunity.

The soccer legend said the need to look inwards has become imperative, especially given the exploits of local coaches who always do well when plying their outside the country.

He cited Taifa Stars of Tanzania’s  Head coach, Emmanuel Amuneke as an example, saying it is no mean achievement guiding the East Africans to their first AFCON in 40 years.

“So, the difference between us and those other countries will be somebody and something to elevate us, in terms of our psychology, to a certain level and we’ll just overpower them”, the outspoken Sports administrator said

The former Green (Super) Eagles captain said the only thing stopping Coach Amuneke, the 1994 AFCON winner, from managing the Super Eagles is that he is a ‘Nigerian’.

“He is a Nigerian, that’s the only challenge. But he could go there (Tanzania) to do it. If he comes here, it will be totally different. But since we are going for foreign coaches, it gives us more confidence apparently. So, it’s a problem. If you see the white man you will do everything he says. If you see the black man, you start creating all sorts of issues.

“Even from our time, it’s been happening and it is still there. Even outside of football, it is happening. Once a white man comes and says I’m from China, everyone respects them and then you don’t trust your own. So, if we can get somebody like Amuneke and respect him, because he is in that mould and remember he is one of Westerhof’s products.”

Odegbami however wished the Super Eagles well and hopes they return home with the AFCON title to take Nigeria’s overall haul to four since inception of the tournament.

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