Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has said Nigeria is not favourite going to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt later in June. Reacting to the yearning of Nigerians for the team to return home with the trophy they last won in 2013 in South Africa, the coach said the current team lacked stars to be termed favourites. He said gone were the days when the country paraded players that played for top clubs in Europe and according to him, the only thing going for the team at the moment is team spirit. “We have to be optimistic but if you look at our players, how many of them are playing for big clubs?” the former Niger Republic coach asked.
“Who among them is playing in the Champions League? I watched the last games and no Nigerian players in that competition. “We don’t have the big players like we used to have in the past; the likes of Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Vincent Enyeama and the rest, what we have now is team spirit, we don’t have the stars again.
“We have young players like Alex Iwobi playing for Arsenal in the Europa League even though he was on the bench in their last game, our strength is the team and I hope it will take us far in Egypt.” Meanwhile, Rohr has promised to give playing times to some of the new players invited for the game against Seychelles and Egypt, especially Denmark – based striker, Paul Onuachu.
The FC Midtjylland’s in-form striker, got his first Super Eagles call up after becoming the highest goal Nigeria player in Europe at the moment with 18 strikers for his club this season. Rohr added: “We are going to see how we asses see some of the new players invited to the team. “Although we don’t really have possibility to see everybody because we have two games, Paul will surely play at least 45 minutes in the match. “We are searching for a player like that, we have Ighalo already, we are satisfied with what he has been doing since after the World Cup. Paul is another possibility, let’s see how he can play with other players we have in the team. I hope he can play to our satisfaction.”