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Africa Cup of Nations

Rohr sacked as Nigeria coach with Eguavoen named as replacement

22:46 SAST 2021/12/12
Gernot Rohr
The three-time African champions’ 1-1 draw with Cape Verde proved to be the last game for the German tactician, as the NFF replaced him on Sunday

Gernot Rohr has been axed as Nigeria coach after five years in charge, with Augustine Eguavoen drafted in as an interim replacement.

This development comes a few weeks prior to the commencement of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals – where the country will square up against Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau in Group D.

“The relationship between the Nigeria Football Federation and Mr Rohr has come to an end. We thank him for his services to the Super Eagles and Nigeria,” said NFF general secretary Mohammed Sanusi in a statement made available to the media.

“We also want to thank the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for their collaboration and guidance all through.”

Eguavoen – who will lead Nigeria to Cameroon 2021 - will be assisted by Salisu Yusuf (chief coach), Paul Aigbogun (assistant coach), Joseph Yobo (assistant coach); Terry Eguaoje (assistant coach) and Aloysius Agu (goalkeeper trainer).

Former Nigeria captains Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Garba Lawal will provide technical and ambassadorial support for the crew.

Rohr was named as permanent manager of the three-time African champions in August 2016, following the departure of the Nigerian great Sunday Oliseh.

He won his first game in charge of the Super Eagles – defeating Tanzania 1-0 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.

The German tactician led the country to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia as well as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations – where Nigeria finished third after defeating Tunisia in the third-place match.

In May 2020, he agreed on a two-and-a-half-year contract extension after the NFF reviewed his performances.

Before he was axed, the 68-year-old came under heavy criticism from Nigerians after the Super Eagles struggled but eventually advanced from Group C in the second round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The former Bordeaux coach currently has a record of 28 wins out of 54 matches with Nigeria and he is the most-capped coach in the national team's history.

Former African Player of the Year Victor Ikpeba had warned that sacking Rohr on the eve of Afcon would be a "disaster" while urging the NFF to learn from history.

“It is less than 48 days before our first game against Egypt at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The speculation about his sack has been intense and I’m really surprised,” Ikpeba said on SuperSport.

"I know what happened in 2002 and in 2010. Rumour of people going to the sports ministry and the presidency calling for Rohr to be sacked.

“Rohr has done the needful qualifying the Eagles for the World Cup playoffs. Yes, we were not brilliant against Cape Verde but he has done the needful.

“Why not wait till after the Afcon and take a decision on his future. It will be a disaster if that happens now. If you sack Rohr and employ another coach if the team fails at the Afcon who takes the blame?

“What will the new manager change. What changed in 2002 and in 2010? It was a disaster. This will happen again if Rohr is sacked now.

“My worry is that we forget history and we should not. Those who sacked the late Amodu Shuaibu twice said he was not good enough. Gernot Rohr has been too soft with the players the NFF can help him.”