No new players will be invited for AFCON – Gernot Rohr
Gernot Rohr closes door on new players for AFCON
The Super Eagles coach has slammed the door on inviting unfamiliar faces for the upcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON)
The 2013 African champions having missed out on the last two editions in 2015 and 2017 will be headed to Egypt as one of the favourites to win the championship, alas, there are concerns for the team in some departments.
Top of the concerns for Nigeria going into AFCON will be the goalkeeping department, but while Gernot Rohr admitted that his team was lagging in some positions he maintained that no invite would be extended to new players.
“We have a little challenge because our young goalkeeper Uzoho has not really played at his club this season,” Rohr told BBC Sport.
“Uzoho made one mistake in the last qualifier [against Seychelles] but we gave him a chance with the youth under-23 and it was good for his confidence. Daniel Akpeyi is playing now for a big team in South Africa and doing very well.
Our third goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa too is good so we can work harder with them.
“We have a good spirit as a team since the World Cup, so there’s no time to bring in new players.”
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Aftermath the 2018 World Cup, where Nigeria crashed out from the group stage, Victor Moses announced his retirement from the team, and skipper of the side John Mikel-Obi as yet to make a return to the team.
Rohr, who was in the dugout for Gabon in 2012, is relishing the chances of leading another set of labeled inexperienced side to another AFCON.
“We can work on every aspect to improve the team, that is why we have the friendly matches,” he added. We qualified without two of our most experienced players in Obi Mikel and Victor Moses.
“I know what pressure is because I have experienced it with Gabon as hosts in 2012 – so this [challenge] is nothing new.
“For the World Cup our president said we could go to the semi-finals but we saw what happened – now in Egypt, he says we have to win it.
“We work now to make a great tournament then we take it from there.”
Nigeria are drawn in Group B of the AFCON, which starts on June 21 alongside debutants Madagascar and Burundi, and Guinea.