Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has come under increased pressure from within the Nigeria Football Federation and clubs over his decision to omit domestic league stars from the friendly games against Senegal and Burkina Faso.
The Super Eagles clash against Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinalists Senegal’s Teranga Lions on March 23 before taking on Burkina Faso’s Stallions, who came third in the Gabon tournament, four days later. Both matches will be played in London.
IfeanyiUbah goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa is the only domestic league player named by German manager Rohr in his 25-man squad for the two fixtures, which will serve as tune-up games for the Eagles before their Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in June, as well as their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against Cameroon on August 28 and September 2.
Rohr’s assistant Salisu Yusuf has also come under intense scrutiny from his employers for allegedly not making a strong case for the inclusion of some of the domestic league stars in the squad.
A number of ex-internationals, domestic league club coaches and administrators have unleashed a barrage of criticism against Rohr and the NFF over the decision to leave Nigerian Premier League stars such as MFM striker Stephen Odey, who is currently leading the goalscoring chart with eight goals, Remo Stars’ Victor Mbaoma, Enugu Rangers’ Osas Okoro, Kano Pillars’ Rabiu Ali and Gambo Mohammed out of the friendlies.
The critics said the domestic league players should have been given the chance to stake their claim for places in the Eagles following the omission of China-based trio Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye from the London fixtures.
Our correspondent learnt that the federation is not comfortable with the development and has allegedly asked Rohr to name at least four home-based players in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Bafana Bafana in June.
It was also learnt that Rohr is also under pressure to drop some of the established players, who have been turning in below par performances for the national team.
The League Management Company is also said to be unhappy that its products are not attracting interest from Rohr, in spite of the fact that some of them have proved themselves in big games.