From a well documented history of slating the NPFL organization, a reputation that has put him at odds with a prominent section of fans, in a rare show of solidarity, Super Eagles Manager Gernot Rohr appeared to soften his stance on “local players”.
‘Not good enough’, Rohr would say quite often about players in the NPFL whenever to justify their absence from the Super Eagles fold.
Although he had invited over a dozen since his appointment in 2017, outfield players have less than 180 minutes combined in any competitive game for Nigeria.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa had become prominent in that time, but only because of the goalkeeping crisis in the team after the retirement of Vincent Enyeama forced retirement of Carl Ikeme.
The Manager has insisted team selection and game time were deliberately handed out – even in exhibition games – and had severally accused talent merchants of pushing local players for financial benefits.
However in a change of events Rohr, Wednesday, told footballlive that the local players have been severely disadvantaged by the League.
‘First thing is that I’m very happy that we can watch the games of the league in NPFL TV and we can see it from everywhere in the world,’ said the Super Eagles Manager.
‘Two days ago (Monday), I saw the match of Abia Warriors against Rangers, my former assistant Coaches, so it was difficult for me I wanted a draw but it did not happen, Imama won it.
‘It’s nice to see the games and I will watch next Sunday the match of Rivers (United) against Enyimba it is an important match for the African competition and I will be in the Stadium.’
‘It still is not easy for the local players, they’re playing most of them on old synthetic grass; the infrastructure are very bad in Nigeria.
‘They want us to win all the matches but we don’t have the best conditions and I hope that the local players will have better pitches, they’ll have better travelling situations, better training possibilities because it’s depending on what they’re doing all week long to make a good match on the weekend.
‘They didn’t play for 9 months; it’s a very long time. Even the CHAN team did not qualify for the AFCON in Cameroon. So, we hope to have better times with the local players for the local teams and also to have better success in African competitions.’