May 19, 2019

AFCON 2019: No chance for new players ―Rohr

April 23, 2019
AFCON
Gernot Rohr

Nigeria Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has insisted he will not bring in new players for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.

Rohr admitted concerns with his first-choice goalkeeper Francis Uzoho but he is unwilling to bring in a new stopper.

“We have a little challenge because our young goalkeeper Uzoho has not really played at his club this season,” Rohr told BBC Sport.

“Uzoho made one mistake in the last qualifier [against Seychelles] but we gave him a chance with the youth U-23 and it was good for his confidence. Daniel Akpeyi is playing now for a big team in South Africa and doing very well. Our third goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa is good so we can work harder with them. We have a good spirit as a team since the World Cup, so there’s no time to bring in new players,” Rohr said.

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Although the former Gabon coach acknowledged shortcomings in his young team, he is hoping they can secure the continental title in Egypt.

“We can work on every aspect to improve the team, that is why we have the friendly matches,” he added. We qualified without two of our most experienced players in Obi Mikel and Victor Moses. I know what pressure is because I have experienced it with Gabon as hosts in 2012 – so this [challenge] is nothing new. For the World Cup our president said we could go to the semi-finals but we saw what happened. Now in Egypt, he says we have to win it.

“We work now to make a great tournament then we take it from there.”

Nigeria kick-off their campaign against Burundi on June 22 before they slug it out with Guinea four days later and wrap up their Group B games against Madagascar on June 30.

Cameroon are the reigning champions after winning the title in Gabon two years ago.

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