German coach Gernot Rohr is in the semi-finals with Nigeria – and now wants to celebrate the greatest success of his career with the talented team.
The big jubilee gestures he has probably saved for later. Gernot Rohr nodded and applauded as the cameras in Cairo swept him on Wednesday night, Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong had just shot in the 89th minute, 2-1 against South Africa, in the quarter-finals of the African Cup. It was the gateway to one of the biggest successes in a coaching career of about 30 years.
The Mannheimer tube, 66, already as a player most successful in France, was initially junior coordinator at Girondins Bordeaux, in the meantime he took over the professionals, in 1996 he led them in two Uefa Cup finals against Bayern. the Sport-Informations-Dienst he told me again about the current occasion, he likes to remember it, said Rohr. "But a victory here in the final would be a highlight for me." He is now only two victories away.
Winger Samuel Chukwueze is one of the tournament discoveries
The 32nd Africa Cup, the first with 24 instead of 16 teams and the first in the summer instead of winter, is not necessarily a cup of favorites. Many have already eliminated in the round of 16: Morocco, hosts Egypt and defending champion Cameroon, defeated by Nigeria 3-2. But it was actually not quite the tournament of the so-called "Super Eagles" been. After the preliminary round, the Nigerian newspaper published Guardian an opinion piece by former national player Segun Odegbami, who was seriously titled "Gernot Rohr's Deadly Sin". Nigeria lost 2-0 to Madagascar in the group.
Rohr has been training in Africa for more than nine years, coaching the team from Gabon, with whom he reached the Africa Cup quarter-finals, Niger and Burkina Faso. He has been in Nigeria since 2016 and knows Africa's football with all its peculiarities. Before the 2018 World Cup, when he retired with the youngest team of the tournament in the preliminary round, he told the newspaper The world the expectation in the country of the three-time Africa Cup winner: "The President wants us from the World Cup title." L'Équipe he already told of the hard work with Nigeria's media.
Again, hopes are great, despite not untypical resistance: The pros had to defend themselves in a premium dispute with the association allegedly against the rather crude plan of the officials to divert money for the Nigerian women footballers at the World Cup in France to the men. Pipe praised the behavior of the players. In the squad are well-known professionals such as Alex Iwobi from Arsenal, but also some younger. The team must be disciplined, organize better defensively, talk more with each other, said Rohr before the quarter-finals, apparently quite calm.
Nigeria were then clearly better off against South Africa, Villareal winger Samuel Chukwueze, 20, one of the tournament discoveries, scored the 1-0, while the winner hit South Africa's goalkeeper Ronwen Williams. "Our big adventure is going to continue, of course, my team is mentally strong and very disciplined, something you do not have that often in Africa," said Rohr after his first appearance in an Africa Cup semi-final. And he also talked about his future: "My journey is not over yet, it should continue as long as health is involved." His contract is still valid until 2020.