It is reported that when former Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr was fired by the Nigeria Football Federation on December 10, certain players in the team sought to leave the national team.
After five years, four months, and ten days in command of the Eagles, Rohr was fired by the NFF two days later.
The 68-year-old coach told ESPN that his contract had been breached after his contract was terminated, and that he was waiting not just for his unpaid salary, but also for his salaries until the end of the contract.
“I spoke with some players and some of them told me they don’t want to continue. But I said to them, “You have to continue. Now you have Nigerian coaches and you have to do well for your fatherland.”
“To say goodbye to the players has been the most difficult part. Most of them called me already. We were family and we had to leave each other. And it’s not so easy.
“So, I think that Austin Eguavoen has only to continue in the same spirit to be successful and the AFCON title will be in Nigeria.”
The former Gabon coach added that the NFF had wanted to sack him a year ago when Eguavoen was appointed as the Technical Director of the federation.
“I think they already had this prepared. They brought the new coach (Eguavoen) one year ago, so he could have a look. He would ask for the technical reports because he was Technical Director and Paul Aigbogun, his assistant, was doing for me the work of scouting the opponents.
“But I wish them all the best because I want my players to succeed, to win the AFCON. I want Nigeria to go to the World Cup, and I’m sure that they will.”
He also stated that if he had been permitted to remain in control of the team, he would have won the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
At the 2019 edition in Egypt, Rohr led the Eagles to a third-place finish, their eighth bronze medal in the event.
“Of sure!” Rohr responded when questioned about the Eagles’ chances at the upcoming AFCON in Cameroon. We finished third the last time we competed.
“We had a good AFCON, we lost in the semi-final in the last second. This time, I’m sure it would have been better because the team has been growing together for five years and we had our different strategies, and the tactics were becoming more and more efficient.
“And I think even without me, they will do it, they can do it because this team is young, is intelligent, and they can fight. They love their fatherland and they will be able to do very well at the next AFCON.”
Nigeria will face eight-time African champions Egypt in their opening Group D game at Roumde Adjia Stadium on January 11 before taking on Sudan four days later. Their final fixture is against Guinea-Bissau on January 19.