African All Stars

Simy Nwankwo rant: Rohr excuse is ‘ridiculous’

9:09 PM WAT 09/05/2021
Simy Nwankwo & Gernot Rohr
Goal’s Ed Dove isn’t convinced by the Nigeria coach’s rationale for snubbing the Crotone frontman

Gernot Rohr’s explanation for why he’s continuing to overlook Simy Nwankwo for the Nigeria national side generated some ire in the latest African Football HQ podcast.

Discussing the in-form Crotone forward, and the German coach’s rationale for continuing to overlook him for the Super Eagles set-up, AFHQ’s Ed Dove branded Rohr’s comments ‘ridiculous’ and accused the manager of disrespecting Nigeria fans.

When asked in a recent interview about Simy’s exclusion, Rohr advised him to seek more established employers if he wants to make an impression in the national side.

"As I said before, I have never stopped following his performances, but I believe that next year he must go and play in a club and in a team that is stronger than Crotone," Rohr told Europa Calcio.

"It will not be equally easy, but he would already have a better chance of returning to the national team."

The coach certainly has a surplus of attacking options—with the likes of Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Paul Onuachu and Terem Moffi all competing for playing time—but surely this explanation insults the intelligence of Nigeria fans.

Simy is enjoying a remarkable campaign in Serie A.

Despite playing for the worst team in the league—a side who have been relegated with only five goals, having conceded a bucketful—the towering forward has netted 19 goals in one of Europe’s toughest leagues.

He’s broken Obafemi Martins’ record for the most goals scored by a Nigerian player in the Italian top flight, and simultaneously smashed Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s record for goals scored by a Nigerian in a single season in any of Europe’s top five leagues.

Yet Simy can’t seem to get a break.

Not only was the striker snubbed when he attempted to swap shirts with Cristiano Ronaldo following a recent match, but he’s also been overlooked by Rohr.

“It seems a bit pedantic when a guy has scored 19 goals,” Dove told the AFHQ podcast, “in one of the world’s biggest leagues.

“Why does it matter who he’s playing for when he’s achieved those kinds of numbers?”

Rohr’s explanation also lacks consistency, with the coach having called up players from teams which have a much lower standing in the game than Crotone, and slaps of the coach trying to fob off Nigeria fans with a nonsense response.

“Ahmed Musa was playing in Saudi Arabia when he was called,” Dove continued. “You’ve got guys playing for Enyimba, guys playing for Kano Pillars, in Reading in the second tier of English football, for Leganes in Segunda, playing in Slovakia, Denmark.

“He’s saying that Simy, who’s scored 19 goals in Serie A, needs to move to a stronger club…it is absolutely ridiculous.”

Either Rohr is insulting the intelligence of Nigeria fans, or he doesn’t truly understand what a feat it is for the Nigeria frontman to almost hit the 20-goal mark in one of the world’s biggest leagues for lowly Crotone.