By Albert Akota
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has confessed that he still has his reservations over the quality of the pitch at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, as he believes it is not big enough for an international match.
Rohr raised his worries again, as his team’s fixtures against Seychelles and Egypt approach, with the Franco-German tactician apparently apprehensive of what the results would be from both matches in Asaba.
The first upcoming tie at the arena, on March 22, as a dead-rubber last match in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles, while the second game is an international friendly against Egypt on March 26.
Though both matches have nothing at stake in terms of decisive points for the Eagles, Rophr said he is thinking of picking victory in both of them, hence his worries over what his players would be able to do on the ‘small’ surface of the Stephen Keshi Stadium pitch.
The former Burkina Faso, Niger Republic and Gabon gaffer added that he invited most of his key players to prosecute both games because he is thinking only of victory, but he is wary of their ability to deliver under the circumstances they are bound to face in the Delta State capital.
The Eagles coach added that the small size at the stadium in Asaba will make the matches against Seychelles and Egypt difficult, as he fears his players will find it hard to adjust and play fully to his instructions.
Rohr added: “We must be wary as we play in Asaba on a small pitch on a lawn a little high.
“It will not be so easy in such a context to score many goals. It will take intelligence and creativity and build on the sides.”
Meanwhile, Shanghai Shenhua of China striker, Odion Jude Ighalo has promised that he and his colleagues in the Super Eagles will work harder to make a huge impression at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Ighalo is already optimistic of a historic outing at Egypt 2019, as he believes hard work and determination will take the Eagles to a fourth continental title in July.
Tghe last time Nigeria won the competition was at South Africa 2013, following previous conquests on home soil in 1980 and at Tunisia ’94, but Ighalo believes the current squad can do even better than those historic title-winning teams.
The former Changchun Yatai hitman, who scored his first goal for Shenhua last weekend and is current top scorer in the AFCON 2019 qualifiers, added that he wants to give his personal best as well.
While pledging to keep his concentration high for the national team, Ighalo also disclosed that all other players in the squad will also step up their efforts to keep the Eagles fly high in the right direction.
Ighalo vowed: “I just want us to keep the concentration level high. We are in a good direction.
“We want to compete; we want to do better than what the Eagles before us have done in the past.
“We just want to continue to work hard together as a team, not to feel relaxed just because we have gotten the ticket to the AFCON.