By Chidera Akalonu
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr is full of encomiums for the Nigeria Football Federation for the “professional and committed manner” it handled the Super Eagles’ 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Not only were the three –time African champions unbeaten in what was styled ‘Group of Death’, the Eagles picked the ultimate prize in that group with a game to spare, becoming Africa’s first candidate for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in the process.
The man that led the team to achieving this feat believes the professional approach to the team’s preparations by the NFF for all the six qualifiers played a pivotal role in the team’s success.
“For sure, we must commend the NFF for the role they played right from that game in Ndola against Zambia to last Friday’s game in Constantine, Algeria.
“Apart from putting together excellent arrangements for our games at home, they ensured we travelled in comfort to all our away games and the fact that our away travels were always direct on chartered flights made sure we had very good recovery period between games. This also helped to manage the few days we usually have because of the congested and very small number of the FIFA international days,” Rohr said.
Nigeria won four games and drew two to finish top of the eminent pile with 14 points, six ahead of second –placed Zambia.
In both drawn games away from home, they were pegged back by late penalties to the hosts in dying minutes, underlying the Super Eagles’ praiseworthy performance through out the campaign.
This, the Franco –German tactician believes, was down to paying attention to little details.
“From the time the draw was made for the group series of the qualifiers, we know that in a difficult group like the one we were in, the difference between success and failure could be down to little things that most people would take for granted, but I am happy that the NFF were very professional, passionate and committed to the cause. Their great planning and arrangements made the players to focus on the football only, so we got the best out of them.
“Now we cannot rest on our oars because there is a bigger challenge ahead of us. We have to prepare better and focus even more as we get set for the World Cup next year,” Rohr concluded.
Meanwhile Russia –based Bryan Idowu on Saturday night joined up with the rest of the squad after they arrived in Krasnodar, Russia. He told thenff.com: “It’s a big privilege for him to be part of this great squad. I will definitely give my best in order to remain a part of this team.
“It’s a big honor for me to be called into the Super Eagles. I will give this opportunity my very best shot so I can stay here for a long time. I believe this team will put smiles on the faces of Nigerians at the World Cup next year,” he added.