Super Eagles’ head coach, Gernot Rohr has admitted he is facing difficulties in getting several Nigerian-born played based in Germany to switch elegance and play for his team, as he admits they would rather remain loyal to the country of their birth, megasportsarena.com reports.
Though he is trying to use his influence as Franco-German national and the fact that he played for Bayern Munch of Germany during his active days to sway some of the players born in that country to commit their international future to Nigeria, Rohr confessed that the effort is not as easy as many Eagles’ fans are thinking.
While also affirming that players in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) do not have any place in his squad, because he does not think they are good enough, Rohr reiterated that he wants Bayern Munich whiz-kid, Joshua Orobosa Zirkzee and other fast-rising lads in the German Bundesliga to play for the Eagles, but admitted it has not been an easy process for him trying to convince them to switch his international allegiance.
Although Zirkzee was born in Schiedam, Holland nineteen years ago, he qualifies to play for the Eagles of Nigeria through his mother, though he is already provisionally cap-tied to Holland, after playing competitively for them at under-17 level.
That, though, will not stop Nigeria from getting him capped at full senior level, once they get the required clearance from world soccer governing body, FIFA, but Rohr has opened up about the difficulties he is facing in hooking Zirkzee, who has played nine Bundesliga matches this season and has four goals to his name.
After seeing the youngster debut for the German serial-champions in the DFB Pokal and UEFA Champions League, Rohr observed the former Feyenoord of Holland youth team player at close quarters in February, when Zirkzee scored on his full Bundesliga debut against TSG Hoffenheim.
However, luring Zirkzee into the Eagles remains a huge hurdle for Rohr, who also explained that he does not invite NPFL players for Nigeria’s national team matches because he believes they are not on the same level as the foreign-based starts that populate his squad.
With the exception of Heartland of Owerri goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, NPFL players hardly get spots in Rohr’s list of invitees, but the former Gabon, Niger Republic and Burkina Faso gaffer has also pointed out that good players in the league finally end up moving to European clubs.
He is now alluding to the impossibility of any player in Nigeria’s domestic league getting calls-up under his third contract with the Eagles, even as he admits that luring Zirkzee, Kevin Akpoguma, Felix Uduokhai and Jordan Torunarigha may also be impossible for him, unless his side qualifies for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Rohr told German regional newspaper, Mannheimer Morgen: “A preferred candidate, but it’s not that simple. We cannot and will not poach him, that must come from the player himself. There are a few others in the Bundesliga that apply: Kevin Akpoguma in Hoffenheim, Jordan Torunarigha at Hertha BSC and Felix Uduokhai in Augsburg. But we can’t get them so easily.
“I have invited more than 20 local players since 2016. If they are good, sooner or later they’ll all end up in Europe. (I am not inviting them only) because they are not good enough and because I have better ones. There are so many good players in Europe.”