Former Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr, has acknowledged that the current generation of Super Eagles players is living in the shadow of Nigeria’s golden generation of the 1990s and early 2000s.
The last time Nigeria hosted the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000, the Super Eagles had three former African Footballers of the Year in their squad, namely Nwankwo Kanu, Victor Ikpeba and Emmanuel Amunike.
The 2000 squad also contained Chelsea fullback, Celestine Babayaro, Paris Saint-Germain duo Godwin Okpara and Jay-Jay Okocha, Juventus star, Sunday Oliseh and Ajax’s Tijani Babangida.
Rohr explained why Nigeria wouldn’t be on the same level as Algeria and Egypt at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, insisting that Leicester City duo, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are not yet stars in the mold of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Eric Bailly, Edouard Mendy, Riyad Mahrez and Bouna Sarr,who play for glamorous European teams.
Speaking to celebrated football magazine, World Soccer, Rohr stated: “Nigeria don’t have these big stars like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu or Victor Ikpeba. Wilfried Ndidi is not yet a star; Kelechi Iheanacho not yet either.
“They don’t have any players in Liverpool, Man- chester, Munich or Chelsea, which is the case for Sene- gal, Egypt, and Ivory Coast.
“The biggest clubs are perhaps Leicester, or possibly Napoli with Victor Osimhen.
“When you don’t have the players in fantastic clubs, playing the semifinals or quarterfinals of the Champions League all the time, you cannot pretend to be better than Algeria or Egypt.
“That’s the question of football without stars. It’s more collective football.”