Rohr upbeat ahead Nigeria tricky tie against Cape Verde

Published on: 06 September 2021

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is upbeat the Super Eagles can pull off a positive result as the West Africans head to the Island of Mindelo for their MatchDay 2 away tie to Cape Verde on Tuesday.

The Super Eagles took command of their Group C following a 2-0 home win against the Lone Star of Liberia courtesy of Kelechi Iheanacho’s brace at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos last Friday.

But the team is depleted ahead of the trip to Cape Verde, due to Covid-19 red alert UK restrictions on the Island country, and Rohr will be without all the Britain-based players, including Man of the match against Liberia and Leicester City forward Iheanacho.

Others who would not be available for Tuesday’s tie include defenders Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers); William Ekong (Watford FC); midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo (Watford FC); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers) and striker Alex Iwobi (Everton FC).

Rohr, who described his side’s home win against Liberia as heart-warming despite ‘difficult conditions’, admitted that the three-time African Champions have a huge game in their hands against the Blue Sharks at Estadio Municipal Aderito Sena on the island of Mindelo. “Some players are leaving because they cannot travel to Cape Verde and it’s not going to be easy to build a new team in two days.

“We are going to play under two extreme conditions after playing on a heavy grass due to the rain (at the Teslim Balogun Stadium) and then another game on a dry pitch (against Cape Verde). We are going to play with another defence, another midfield, and without the goal scorer (Kelechi).

“It is a challenge for the staff and the players but we have to show our solidarity, and with the 20 players going to Cape Verde, we would be able to make a good team.

“We have to manage the situation without searching for alibis if it is not going well and that our team is able to bring about good performance even when we know it is going to be more difficult,” explained the 68-year-old Rohr.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles Captain Ahmed Musa would be looking forward to Tuesday’s match with relish since he would be in line for his 100th international cap for Nigeria.

The 28-year-old winger earned his 99th cap last Friday against Liberia after coming on as a second-half substitute for Iheanacho, and would be the third Nigerian to reach the 100 cap landmark after former captains Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo.