Afcon 2019: Imenger blames Rohr’s rotation for Nigeria's loss to Madagascar

Ahmed Musa - Nigeria vs. GuineaBackpagePix

Former Super Eagles player Barnabas Imenger has criticised Nigerian coach, Gernot Rohr’s decision to present a second-string side against Madagascar in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group B encounter in Alexandria on Sunday.

The Eagles already booked a place in the Round of 16 before the fixture with the Barea because of their consecutive victories over Burundi and Guinea in their earlier two matches.

They were beaten 2-0 by Afcon debutants Madagascar in a game they were second best for the most part. Rohr made five new changes to the team that pipped the Syli Stars 1-0 in the last game.

“It was wrong for our coach to change the team that beat Burundi and Guinea in the two earlier matches that we had played,” Imenger told Goal.

“We knew we were already through to the next round but playing with our best 11 would have allowed the players to understand themselves more before the second round game. What was his reasons for the obstruction to the squad that started against Guinea?

“We do not have any business losing this game and Rohr needs to be spoken to not to play with the emotion of Nigerians. We played against Nations Cup debutants and we played this poorly. This defeat will no doubt affect our players’ psychology ahead of their second-round game with Cameroon, Ghana or Benin Republic."

Imenger who represented the Eagles on 15 occasions questions the player's motivation.

“I want to also say that the Eagles were complacent against Madagascar,” he continued.

“It was as if they were satisfied that they were through to the next round and didn’t give their best. These Eagles are not playing with high intensity. They are playing as if there is nothing at stake, it is awful.

“They need to play better than they are doing if they want to go far in Egypt. We cannot accept the display like the one with Madagascar again.”

The Eagles finished their Group B matches in second position with six points. They are behind surprise package, Madagascar who topped the group with seven points from three games.