BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Gernot Rohr, coach of the Nigeria Super Eagles has explained what went wrong with the team that was just four minutes away from not just obtaining first ever point against Argentina at the World Cup, but also picking a Round of 16 ticket when both teams met at the Russia 2018 World Cup in June.
Most observers had blamed the coach of not knowing what to do as the clock ticked down in the explosive encounter at St Petersburg.
Answering questions from journalists in a hangout packaged by HotSports Media for Friesland Campina, makers of Peak Milk, the official milk of the Super Eagles, the German-born tactician explained that what went wrong that day was a collective responsibility.
He explained that he was aware that Nigeria needed just a draw to get to the next stage and was preparing to make tactical changes to change the complexion of the match, but part of his technical crew objected.
“You know with modern gadgets, we can communicate with even those not on the bench. I wanted to pull out Ahmed Musa for Alex Iwobi after 75 minutes because he was obviously tired, but two or three other crewmembers on the upper terrace advised against that, saying Musa’s presence was causing panics in the Argentine defence.
“By that time, we had made only one halftime substitution when Odion Ighalo came in for Kelechi Iheanachor in the attack.
The players got carried away, instead of defending, they wanted to beat the Argentines for the first time in the World Cup.”
The coach explained that the lesson had been learnt and that explained why the Super Eagles opted for defensive strategy in the latter part of last Saturday’s match with South Africa in Johannesburg.