Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr has admitted that the international friendly of his team against Liberia could be a distraction for his players, but said he will do his best to ensure they stay focused on Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles.
Rohr noted that the opportunity of playing in honour of Liberia’s iconic president, George Opong Weah, could be point to take his players’ focus off the more important and crucial game against Seychelles, hence his decision to talk only about the qualifier.
Rohr admitted he has been notified by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that Liberia have been chosen in place of Saudi Arabia, following logistics issues that arose after Seychelles shifted the AFCON 2019 qualifier back by a day.
However, rather than dwell on whether his team will beat Liberia on September 11 in Monrovia, the Franco-German tactician said the game on his mind for now is that with The Pirates of Seychelles, this Saturday in Victoria.
Nigeria and Liberia last clashed on August 19, 2012, during qualifiers for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, which the Super Eagles went on to win.
Dramatically, a friendly between both nations preceded that match, in February 2012, as Nigeria defeated Liberia 2-0 at Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.
For that game, both teams featured players from their home leagues, and Sunday Mba got both goals that saw the Eagles outshine the Lone Star in front of their then president, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to commemorate her swearing in for a second term in office.
Mba’s first goal was in the ninth minute, from a Reuben Gabriel pass, to silence the 18,000-seater stadium, before the second on 30 minutes from an assist by Ejike Uzoenyi.
In July 200, the Liberians beat the Eagles 2-1 before a sparse crowd that had turned out at Monrovia’s Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex.
Many Liberians had thought their national side would crumble against the like of Nwanko Kanu, Sunday Oliseh and Austin Okocha, but the Lone Star started like a house on fire and hit the back of the visitors’ net as early as the 4th minute.