Nigeria v Zambia update: How Gernot Rohr will pick his players for the game

Gernot Rohr
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has explained how he will pick his team for the game against Zambia on Saturday.

Rohr had earlier said he already had an idea of those he expects to start on Saturday but on Thursday went on to list what he will be looking out for in the players he will pick.

The German went on to list pointers that will determine his team for Saturday.

First it is fitness. I mean physical fitness and after that we will look at what happened in the last games they played for their clubs.

We have out scouting team that reports so we try to find the best,” Rohr continued.

Technical quality is another and then tactical understanding and mental strength.

You must be cool in the head, not like Brazil against Germany in the World Cup semi final,” Rohr added.

Finally, there there must not be too much of emotion, but I am happy to have a choice to make.

We are ready. We train very well. We will wait until the last session to make our team. I think it will be a great game. Not only because it is decisive game but because it is two teams that play very good football. Two teams with different styles. We found in the game against Cameroon, a style and we try to do it in this type of game but we know it will be difficult against Zambia because they saw our game, they know us so we must try to surprise them.

It will be more difficult to do it against Zambia because they know us. It will be more dangerous.”

Nigeria’s first game of the qualifiers was against Zambia with the Eagles winning 2-1 but Rohr insists the team they beat last year is not the same as the current one.

Of course it is one year but the situation today is a good one for us. We have ten points and they have seven. We have plus seven and they have plus three.

If we win, we are through but they have to win and we want to win. The Zambia team of one year ago is not the same now, they have changed a lot. They have a team of young players who are coming in from U20 who won the AFCON and got to the quarter final of the World Cup.

The Cameroon win was good for confidence. Now it is different because it is not Cameroon. They have a different kind of play so we must be able to adapt our play to these opponents.”

Gernot Rohr also highlights the importance of focus on the part of the players before and during the game.

We are so close to Russia but everybody understands it is not the moment to lose concentration so every body is aware of the situation.

We know that it is in our hands now. When we won in Zambia I was told that Nigeria never won there.

We are in the reality now and we can go to Russia if we win this game. If we draw, we can also go there. But nothing is done for the moment. I have been in Nigeria since two weeks. Zambia has another team, a very good team. Let us be careful and concentrate on the game coming. A big work most be done to beat them. We are monitoring the game they won against Algeria. We will be very careful.”

The Super Eagles will be going into the game completely injury free as Rohr confirmed that all twenty two players are fit.

I am happy to have choices to make. We have fair competition among the players. Simon can start, Alex can start. What is important is that the competition is fair. Somebody can start and the other one can finish. We need Alex, we need Simon, we need all the twenty two players. I like the spirit in this team. We have no problems.

The most important thing is to win the game. The lessons we learned from the South African game we showed it against Cameroon so that answers itself.

We have more experienced players in the team now and each game is different and we know it will be more difficult than the Cameroon game. I have a little of my starting lineup in my heart but we have two more training sessions before the game.”

When both sides met on October 9, 2016 in Ndola, Nigeria won 2-1, their first ever win on Zambian soil.


A win for Nigeria guarantees automatic qualification for the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
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