Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr
Nothing jeopardizes a team's chances of performing well at the World cup tournament more than mutiny in the players’ camp. And nothing brings that mutiny in the players' locker room faster than accusations of favoritism by the coach.
The act of extending preferential treatment to seemingly under-performing players in the name of confidence building to the detriment of the rest of the team can drive a wedge between players on and off the pitch.
How does favoritism come into team sports?
This happens especially when an under-performing player keeps getting selected ahead of more talented ones, the ignored players seethe on the bench till the favoritism gets to a crescendo. And when that happens, all hell breaks loose. Mutiny is followed by bad results and bad results are followed by the coach's head rolling away while the team is set to reboot with the appointment of a new one.
The favoritism scenario takes place over and over at the World Cup, and right now, the destructive gale of favoritism is blowing the way of the Super Eagles of Nigeria as they get set to engage their Group Stage opponents at the World Cup in Russia next week. Could Coach Gernot Rohr and the technical team be ignoring the ominous signs?
When was Gernot Rohr ever guilty of favoritism in the Super Eagles?
Judging by the team selections in the last World Cup preparatory games leading to the final team list, accusations of preferential treatment are flying up and down in the team. Could Coach Rohr be ignoring what the common Nigerian fan saw in the 5 prep games?
What's the deal with selecting of Francis Uzoho ahead of Okechukwu Ezenwa between the sticks in the last 5 games?
Uzoho, though younger with quick reflexes and other qualities, has picked the ball from the back of the net in games more than the erstwhile dependable Ezenwa, who put up an outstanding showing during the World Cup qualifiers.
Uzoho, if we musn't forget was drafted into the team after the Super Eagles had already qualified for the tournament when Ezenwa got injured. The newbie Uzoho still kept the gloves after the tested and experienced Ezenwa returned to fitness some months ago. Shouldn't coach Rohr be building Ezenwa's match fitness and confidence since his return from the sideline with game time instead of the wet-behind-the-ears Uzoho?
What's the deal with preferential treatment in the Eagles' goalkeeping department?
Is it wrong to favor experience over present form in the Super Eagles?
While experience can't be brushed aside in football but when the favored player isn't living up to reputation, isn't it natural for others to be given the chance to prove themselves?
Should reputation now take the place of ability in the Super Eagles?
What next now that the favored players in question have consistently failed to reprise the form that made them flourish in the past?
What have players like Elderson Echiejile, Victor Moses, Ogenyi Onazi, to mention a few, brought to the Eagles on the way to Russia?
Doesn't merit have a place in the team again?
While bringing much-needed experience to the game is commendable, failing to reproduce previously superlative form can be a big problem.
How would preferential treatment adversely affect the Super Eagles in Russia?
What impression is coach Rohr trying to create in the eyes of capable players on the bench?
Is there anything to play for when an uninspired player gets drafted into an already lost cause in the 83rd minute?
Victor Moses was particularly so bad in the last game (vs the Czech Republic) he couldn't make one decent cross. How could the arrowheads of the attack, Odion Ighalo, and Simeon Nwankwo, score if they don't get service from the wings and midfield?
Is there any point playing an experienced but aged defender who would get beaten for pace by every keen opposition running up and down the flanks? Leo Messi and Luka Modric must be rubbing their palms with glee.
Croatia and Argentina could make soft work of the Eagles and Nigeria would be out in the group stages. Bye-bye, sayonara, nice-to-know-ya and Nigeria’s out of the World Cup because the coach wouldn’t field the best legs over his favorites.
Gernot Rohr is about to waste the hard work and progress of the last two years he's been building if he doesn't wake from his slumber before it's too late. He should ask previous coaches who egotistically stuck to their guns on their preferred players in the face of picking able replacements.
It was the same under-performers who helped push the coach's job off the precipice with constant poor showing. Under-performing faves do nothing but bury their manager’s careers.
There's a higher chance of the manager getting fired for bad results than the whole team getting disbanded.
Coach Rohr should make hay (and changes) while his head is still attached to his head, the time to ring changes in the Super Eagles is now.
Ego doesn't count as an advantage on any football manager's CV, it won't matter in Rohr's if he gets fired from the Eagle's job. If his favorites are failing, he shouldn't hesitate to drop and replace them. It would be sad to blow the chance to make history with the Super Eagles at the Russia World Cup.
A word is enough for the wise, these Eagles need to be shaken awake now!
[These are the thoughts and opinions of a Super Eagles fan, other opinions are welcome in the comment section, don't be scared to use it furiously :)]