The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has urged officials of the Nigerian Football Federation not to wait for Super Eagles’ technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, to fail before taking “necessary steps”.
Dare was quoted as saying this at a meeting with NFF officials on Tuesday to review the Technical Report of the Nigeria/Sierra Leone AFCON Qualifiers and other matters.
This was contained in a statement from the minister’s Special Adviser on media, John Akanji, titled, ‘National football team: Hold Rohr to higher standards – Ministry’, on Tuesday.
The NFF officials were also given “marching orders” to hold Rohr to the higher standards contained in his contract.
Apart from Rohr’s failure to secure a win and the team’s dismal two-leg draw against the Sierra Leonean side in the AFCON qualifier, the minister also raised concern over the absence of home-based players in the team.
Dare said, “The NFF must tightly hold the Technical Adviser to the KPIs in his contract. Thus, we cannot wait for those conditions to come to life before we tighten the screws or demand higher or better performance, else Nigeria and Football lovers in Nigeria will be the greatest losers. In this area, NFF must take the necessary steps and actions beyond Rohr to protect our football fortunes.
“The right of Nigerians to ask of Government and indeed NFF explanations for dismal performances and football administration cannot be simply characterised as interference.
“NFF should be more concerned about the failure of technical depth and absence of a defense mechanism which were glaring during the encounter with Sierra Leone rather than the rush to defend the contract of the Technical Adviser.
“Starting now, Nigeria must demand higher or better performance from the technical adviser. We can’t wait until he fails to qualify our team for AFCON and the World Cup before we start to ask the tough questions. In this respect, I charge the NFF leadership to immediately take the necessary steps to protect our football fortunes.”
The NFF President, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, while providing a background to what happened, assured the Minister that “NFF will not shirk in its responsibilities”.
He said that “a few changes and adjustments as discussed and suggested by the ministry will be put into motion”.