By Oluwole Francis
Former Super Eagles goaltender, Peter Rufai has said Coach Gernot Rohr is ‘not getting it right’ with the regular invitation of new players to the team, adding that ‘the national team is not a place where you keep changing players especially in competitive matches’.
The ex-Stationery Stores player said Rohr has struggled to present a regular first team since taking charge in August, 2016 and has often invited new players – especially those born and bred abroad – to the team.
Ahead of last month’s friendly matches against African champions Algeria and Tunisia in Austria, the former Gabon and Burkina Faso coach handed fresh invitations to eight new players including Matthew Yakubu, Kevin Akpoguma, Chidera Ejuke, Zaidu Sanusi and Frank Onyeka.
Lugano goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe was also a fresh invitee as Nigeria drew two matches against Sierra Leone in a recently-concluded 2021 AFCON qualifying double-header.
But the 57-year-old ex-Eagles captain, who was in goal for Nigeria at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, says Rohr is following a wrong path.
“At this point, we are really not getting it right when it comes to players that ought to be called to the national team,” the former Deportivo de La Coruna goalkeeper said.
“The national team is not a place where you keep changing players; one match, another player, next match, another player after two months, another player after three months. No you don’t do that.
“National team positions are given to the best players in such positions, and those players can be substituted only when there are needs.
And before these needs arise, the coaches and technical team must have screened round the country to find alternatives and communicate with the coach who trains these players and collect a report of assessment from these coaches about these players, not about what he (the national team coach) is seeing,” Rufai who is fondly called Dodo Mayana said.