BY KUNLE SOLAJA
Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ manager, Gernot Rohr, is likely to draw a lesson or two from what South Africa’s Stuart Baxter did to get good result when Bafana Bafana beat Nigeria 2-0 at home last Saturday.
The big lesson is not to employ a ‘shot-in-dark’ approach to preparation to important assignments. He must have learnt that it is very important to gather credible intelligent reports on opposing teams.
Even before getting to physically meet his players for the first time, Baxter consulted another coach in South Africa, Gavin Hunt of Bidvest Wits for information on his players and engaged a Manchester United scout to help monitor Super Eagles’ training and matches in France.
The result speaks very loud on the essence of monitoring and intelligence gathering. The same South Africa that mauled Nigeria in Uyo could not beat an equally home losing side, Zambia when both met in a friendly later in the week.
The opportunity to monitor Nigeria’s next important opposition comes now that the FIFA Confederation Cup begins in Russia on Saturday.
It is a ‘Festival of Champions’ as six continental cup winners gather along with current World Cup holders and next World Cup hosts. Cameroon, Nigeria’s next World Cup qualifying opponents, as champions of Africa flies the continental flag.
They play in Group B and will meet Chile on Sunday at 7pm Nigerian time at Spartak Stadium in Moscow. The match comes up a little over 24 hours after hosts, Russia, would have met Oceania champions, New Zealand at Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg.
It is at the Saint Petersburg Stadium that Cameroon will be facing Australia, the Oceania-based Asian Football Federation champions.
Cameroon’s last group match will be next Sunday at the Fisht Stadium, Sochi against the native country of Gernot Rohr, Germany.
The Cameroonians who arrived Russia two days ago are featuring in the Confederation Cup after those of 2001 and 2003. They got to the final match of the latter, even though they had to cope with the tragedy of losing a player, Vivian Foe who slumped and died on the pitch on the road to the final match.