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Rohr’s job not on the line – Pinnick

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  • He remains one of Nigeria’s worst coaches, says Aiyegbeni

The Nigeria Football Federation says there is no immediate plan to sack Coach Gernot Rohr despite the poor outings of the Super Eagles in recent matches.

Former Nigeria international Yakubu Aiyegbeni has labeled Gernot Rohr as one of the ‘worst coaches’ in Super Eagles history and questioned some of the credentials of the current crop of players.

In the recent Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers, Nigeria squandered a four-goal lead in a 4-4 draw at home to Sierra Leone and later played a 0-0 stalemate in the reverse fixture away to the Leone Stars in Freetown.

Nigeria still tops Group L despite the results in the qualification for Cameroon 2022.

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said notwithstanding the pressure on the football house, Rohr would not be sacked.

His reaction followed Sports Minister Sunday Dare’s social media comment questioning the ‘suitability and competence’ of the coach on the back of the 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture.

“Nobody is happy about what happened against Sierra Leone in both matches,” Pinnick told BBC Sport Africa

“But it is not enough to sack the coach because his team is still top of the Nations Cup group after four matches.

“His statistics speak volume for him. So, on what indexes do we want to sack him considering the contract recently signed by both parties?

“No matter how emotional and disappointed the fans are, there’s no basis to sack him now and he deserves to keep his job.”

Rohr, 67, was appointed coach of the three-time African champions in August 2016 and led them to a third place finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations – after the team had missed back to back tournaments in 2015 and 2017.

But he has faced criticism over tactics and choice of players from the local media, former players and disappointed fans.

However, Pinnick backed the German to lead the West African nation to the delayed continental showpiece event in 2022 and the World Cup in Qatar same year, as agreed in his recently extended two-year contract.

“When you look at his performance, where he has won 29 matches, drew 14 and lost 10, you can say that is enough to back him,” said Pinnick.

“Yes, the performance in the last two games has not gone down well with some people, but we need to be professional, honest and respectful in how we analyse things.”

But Aiyegbeni believes Rohr is unfit for the hot-seat and has backed the call to relinquish him of the job.

He said, “The coach is not good enough, let him go,” said Aiyegbeni on Lagos Talks as reported by Goal.com.

He added, “Some of the boys are not good enough, I don’t know where they are bringing them from. Who is inviting these players?”

The former Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Middlesbrough, Leicester City and Portsmouth forward also said, “Our football is getting worse every day. When I was there, people criticised us, but we’re way better than these ones.

“The coach is not good enough, no clue. Gernot Rohr is one of the worst coaches in our history. He is not good enough.”

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Man United contact Napoli for Osimhen

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Victor Osimhen

Undergoing a massive rebuild and in desperate need of a goal scorer, Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen this summer.

According to Corriere dello Sport (via thefaithfulmufc), the Red Devils have contacted the Partonopei to discuss a potential move for the Nigerian forward. After enduring a disappointing 2021/22 campaign, United are looking at a fresh approach this summer under new manager Erik ten Hag.

Last season, the 13-time Premier League champions scored just 57 goals in 38 Premier League games. 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo was the club’s most impressive forward as he scored 18 goals in 30 games, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wasn’t supported by his teammates. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani scored just nine league goals between them.

Furthermore, the club are set to part ways with Cavani, Jesse Lingard, and Juan Mata after the expiration of their contracts at the end of the month. They are therefore expected to prioritize signing a top-quality forward.

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Victor Osimhen who joined Napoli from Lille in the summer of 2020 for a club-record fee of €70 million might just be the answer to their prayers and provide the support a veteran Ronaldo needs.

The striker, who scored 18 times and made six assists in 32 games last season, is also on the radar of other top English clubs including Arsenal and Newcastle.

Labelled a ‘phenomenal‘ player for his performances in the past, Osimhen has already scored 15 goals and provided 8 assists in just 23 games for Nigeria. He scored four goals as the Super Eagles thrashed Sao Tome and Principe 10-0 in a match-day two fixture of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match.

He was also on target on match-day one for the Eagles as they rallied back from a goal down to beat Sierra Leone 2-1 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

The Italian side’s president, Aurelie De Laurentiis, is renowned for being a tough negotiator and is reportedly reluctant to entertain the idea of selling Osimhen for less than £86m.

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Chelsea, Man United tussle over Neymar

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Neymar

Chelsea, Newcastle, and Manchester United could make a move for PSG winger Neymar this summer.

Neymar is highly regarded as one of the best players to have ever graced a football pitch, and the Brazilian has won countless trophies during his time at Barcelona and PSG.

His time at the French champions could be over, however, with RMC Sport reporting that he is considering looking for a move away from the club this summer.

The report also claimed that three Premier League clubs could make a move, naming Newcastle, Chelsea, and Manchester United.

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Due to the likely astronomical wages that come with signing Neymar, not many clubs will be able to afford the Brazilian winger.

Although the report doesn’t suggest the trio of clubs are seriously considering signing Neymar, there’s no doubt there would be interest from all three clubs, simply due to what he can offer to their side.

Neymar has managed 342 goals during his whole career, but that is only a small percentage of what he can provide. His creativity and dribbling ability mean he’s such a handful for opposition defenders, and the prospect of him playing in the Premier League is an exciting one.

A move to Manchester United and Newcastle seems unlikely due to their Champions League status, but linking up with former manager Thomas Tuchel and former teammate Thiago Silva could be on the cards.

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Okoye: My ambition is the Premier League

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Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye

Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye is preparing ahead of the new season and has indicated his desire to help the club gain promotion back to the top flight.

Okoye, 22, was a £5m signing from Dutch side, Sparta Rotterdam in January.

He only joined up with the Hornets at the off season having been on loan at Sparta Rotterdam since January.

“I think in every player’s head is going back up to the Premier League,” the former Fortuna Düsseldorf goalkeeper said. Okoye was quoted by Watford Observer as saying;“ It’s important to have ambition.

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“On a personal level, I just want to help fulfill that ambition for the other players and the club. The more playing time the better, but most of all I want to see myself grow as a person and a goalkeeper.”

The German-born goalkeeper said English football has always been a dream and he will work hard to make it come true.

”If I can get playing time and improve then that is fantastic. I grew up watching English football and it was always a dream to play in this country.

“As a kid, it was English football I wanted to play in and now I’m going to put the work in to make that happen.”

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