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I can’t put my money on Eagles winning Nations Cup – Siasia

George Aluo

Former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, has declared that winning the Nations Cup next year would be an uphill task for the Super Eagles.

Siasia who spoke exclusively to Sports Xpress in Lagos said Gernot Rohr has got a very young team that he cannot put his money on, insisting that the Franco-German tactician needs more time to build a team that one can beat his chest to say will conquer the continent.

“Yes we have a young team of talented players, but the truth is that you don’t build a solid team overnight. Nigerians are always in a hurry. We want immediate result in whatever we do, but in football, things don’t work that way. The question to ask is how many years did it take Westerhof to build the USA 94 squad everybody is talking about.

“He (Westerhof) didn’t do it overnight. Rohr is here now and we want him to win the Nations Cup. Some people even talked about our winning the World Cup in Russia. With which team, I beg to ask? We have started talking about winning the Nations Cup now that we have qualified with one game in hand. I think we are not being realistic.”

Continuing Siasia said: “The qualifiers are a different ball game from the tournament proper. Who and who did we play in the race to Cameroon…Seychelles, Libya and South Africa.

“Mention any of these countries that is a soccer giant in Africa. In Cameroon, we are going to meet the best teams in Africa and it won’t be easy at all.”

Siasia stressed that for the Eagles to stand any chance at all, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would have a major role to play by ensuring that the team prepares well for the tournament.

“The NFF has a big role to play ahead of the tournament. They must ensure that the Eagles play series of friendly games and they need to start camping early under a very conducive atmosphere. Adequate preparation is key and the coach should not be put under pressure by being given “it is the Cup or nothing” target.

Siasia, while taking a look at the present set of players that prosecuted the qualifiers, charged Rohr to still try out a few other players that could add value to the team.

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In his words, “When building a team you have got to experiment with many players. Nigeria is blessed with a lot of talents.

“There are so many players who did well for us at the youth level U17 and U20 that are still doing well today in their various clubs that are yet to get a chance in Eagles.

“I don’t want to mention names so that people would not say that I’m lobbying for some players. Rohr should “shine his eyes” and go for such players.

“The attack in particular needs to be strengthened. When Ighalo is not playing, then the attack lacks bite and we have players who can deliver in the top strikers’ position.”

Rohr, it would be noted, had at a recent breakfast meeting with sports editors in Lagos said he has a team that is not too young to rule Africa.

Rohr on his part also harped on the need for adequate preparation.

Hear the Eagles manager: “I have a young team, but it is a team that is not too young to win something.

“What we need to win the cup is good preparations. We hope there won’t be injuries and we make less mistakes.

“You can see that the team against South Africa in Joburg on November 17 avoided the mistakes that made us lose to Argentina at the World Cup. The team is improving and there is a lot of enthusiasm.”

Rohr stated that he would put his rebuilding process at about 70 per cent right now, even as he added that he would continue to shop for fresh legs that can add value to the squad the way Villarreal boy, Chukwueze has done.

“Nigeria has got a lot of talents. We will continue to scout for players that can bring competition to the team. We need more left footed players.

“We can see that those who stood for Uzoho, Ighalo, Ndidi and Shehu in the match against South Africa did well. We have to create a situation where we have options in every position,” Rohr said.

The Franco-German dismissed as untrue the belief of some Nigerians that he does not love local players.

“I love local players and I have given them a fair opportunity in the team. I have called up 20 home players. But they keep moving to Europe, which is good for them.”

He was, however, quick in pointing out that the biggest challenge facing the home boys is the poor environment under which they play.

“We need better infrastructure in Nigeria. We have only few good pitches here in Nigeria. We need better conditions to play football and the clubs here don’t have it.”