By Paul Bassey
November 20, 2020
The headline of today's piece is
not original. Got it from a
WhatsApp sports platform.
What an apt coinage. I chose it after listening to Gernot Rohr's interview after
the non-event in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Read him. "Long long time we play
goalless... wanted to be solid... Happy
for our goalkeeper... after injury to
Osimhen everybody was afraid and
wanted to fight for him. They fight very
well. This draw for us, still the top of the
table... Not official but very close now
to qualification... All the games are difficult, no little opponents... everybody
is well organized... difficult pitch...
Congrats to the players show that they
can fight together and make a goalless
"Happy for our goalkeeper"
"They fight very well"
"All the games are difficult"
"No little opponents, everybody is well
"Congrats to the players show that they
can fight together and make a goalless
Can you imagine, such a post-match
interview in a group involving Sierra
Leone, Benin and Lesotho? That after
four matches we are yet to qualify?
No little opponents? When they were
growing we were standing still?
Let me take some selected results of
Central Africa 0 Morocco 2, Togo
1Egypt 3 Before then,
Morocco 4 Central Africa 1; Egypt
1Togo 0; Sao Tome & P 2 South Africa
4; Mozambique 0 Cameroun 2 Champions are made of sterner stuff, home
and away. With due respect to the Leone
Stars, six solid points against them, and
qualification guaranteed with two
matches to spare, we would have
stopped Rohr from wasting scarce funds
by inviting an armada of foreign based
for the remaining two matches.
But here we are, I repeat, in a group that has Benin, Lesotho
and Sierra Leone, we are
still struggling to qualify?
Not so with Mali, Morocco, Cameroon, Egypt,
Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia, who are home and dry.
Lets rewind to Benin... Four goals up,
I was at the Lagos airport and switched off to board my flight. On landing in Uyo,
it was my driver who welcomed me with
anger. How Eagles fumbled and messed
up... "Sir, it is unbelievable, we could
have lost blah... blah... blah..."
Initially I did not understand what he
was talking about, that Eagles could have
lost? Which match? The one they were
four goals up? I switched on my phone
to be confronted with one of the greatest wonders of African football. Nigeria
4 Sierra Leone 4, on Nigerian soil!
Let Sierra Leone lead 4-0 and let Nigeria rally back to level up and the world will understand, but Nigeria to scored
four goals and Sierra Leone came back
to level? Unbelievable. Wonders shall
I have heard and read so much. How
the Benin pitch was horrible, the same
pitch on which they scored four unreplied
Why should the deputy governor,
sports minister and NFF chairman train
with the Super Eagles? Distraction, yes,
but for how long did they train? Did the
training take away who Ahmed Musa is?
Excuses that fall flat on their faces.
The Nigerian sports space is awash
with unrestrained anger. "Rohr must go!"
"Pinnick to follow."
After the friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia, it became clear that
the Franco-German coach had nothing
to offer. That despite the abundance of
talent, he lacked the capacity and capability to put together a team that can hold
her head high in Africa before venturing
onto world stage.
It has taken Rohr years to put a team
together in a country where the Nations
Cup has been won even by "local"
coaches. I repeat that qualification in a
group that involves Benin, Lesotho and
Sierra Leone should never have been a
problem, yet here we are.
With few months to the competition
proper next year, we cannot boast of
credible players in relevant positions. He
is still experimenting, with the goalkeeping
area as a case in point. The last time I
wrote about Rohr, I expressed the sentiments of many who believe "local"
coaches can do better than the man we
now have in the saddle.
"...too many premises we have put
out, but none changes the fact that Rohr's
team has no character, colour or texture.
"Westerhof's 1994 team played same
way as his 1990 team borne out of better understanding and time together. The
same cannot be said of Rohr's team,
yesterday, today and maybe tomorrow."
This was an opinion in October. Today we are still repeating the same thing.
Yes, there are those who believe we
should give him some more time? Four
I remember the story of a bad driver
who three times has nearly killed you.
You report to a friend and he says
"maybe you should give him some more
time to kill you?" I rest my case.
Till next week, by His grace.