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Lawal, give credit to Coach Rorh

Many eyebrows were raised recently when a former Super Eagles  midfielder, Garba Lawal, attributed the recent successes of the New Super Eagles Manager, Gernot Rohr, to luck.
Since the exit of late Stephen Keshi as the Super Eagles coach climaxed by his winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 as a player and in 2013as a coach, his succession has been chaotic, to say the least.
First, the position was handed over to one of Nigeria’s best coaches, Sampson Siasia but could not satisfy his employers for failing to qualify the Super Eagles for the finals of the 2017 AFCON in Gabon.
Then, the erudite football analyst and former Super Eagles Captain, Sunday Oliseh took over.  His tenure ended in bitter  controversy with his employers.  One of the major lessons of the Oliseh saga was the confirmation of the fact that being a successful and exciting football analyst did not mean being a successful football manager, more so when one had not managed any top team before.
Indeed, one of the objections some had for the appointment of Oliseh, ab initio, was that he had not handled any team of note even in Belgium where he lives.
That perhaps informed the decision of NFF leadership to go for the current coach,  Rohr, highly experienced in African football, having worked for several national teams and clubs in Africa though largely unknown because he had not won laurels with these teams.
Nigeria’s prominent football administrator, Amos Adamu, was the first to question his credibility, that he had not heard about him before although he later retracted that he did not mean to doubt his ability.
But from results, NFF had made the right choice.  Rohr had put in all his experience in African football in tinkering the new-look Super Eagles with tremendous results.  Not many Nigerians gave the Super Eagles any chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Russia 2018 in a group with Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.  With the maximum six points after two games in the group, Nigeria are the favorites to qualify from the group.
Though the element of luck is ever present in virtually all human endeavours to determine success and failure, it is completely unfair for Garba Lawal to attribute the Super Eagles’ success under the French/German Coach to luck.
That view even puts into question Lawal’s ability to correctly analyse football though he had been once a successful, hardworking international.
The secret of the manager’s success so far is his decision to build his team around young, emerging talents playing regularly in their clubs.  His emphasis is playing regularly for clubs, no longer on former reputations for which even the position of the skipper, Mikel Obi, is not assured as he does not play for Chelsea any more.
So, Lawal, give credit to whom it is due.  Rorh is meticulous and has hired a match  reader, the first time a national coach has done that.
His Super Eagles is still work in progress and even if eventually the team fails to qualify for the World Cup, it is not because the coach does not know his onions but because of other variables for which he should be given another chance to succeed.

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