June 21, 2017
The proposed plan of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to move the Super Eagles World Cup 2018 qualifiers from the Godswill Akpabio Stadium (The Nest Of Champions), Uyo has been rejected by coach Gernot Rohr.
Issues regarding logistics and attitude of the crowd made the NFF to toy with the idea of moving Super Eagles’ home games from the stadium, amidst reports of the stadium being placed under a spell by aggrieved residents of the land, who are claiming their land was forcefully taken away from them to build the stadium.
Nigeria lost her last game at the stadium to South Africa 0-2 in their first AFCON 2019 qualifier, and their next competitive game which will be against Cameroon in the race to be at the World Cup 2018 was rumoured to have been shifted from the ground.
However, Super Eagles gaffer Gernot Rohr has kicked against the idea of moving the team from the Godswill Akpabio Stadium insisting it will affect the psychology of the players, who have taken the venue as their home.
”I am in constant touch with the team’s captain, Mikel Obi and other senior players and they all agree that the team remains in Uyo to finish all
qualifiers. Changing the venue will put the boys under pressure. The players are at home with Uyo fans”, Rohr stated.
The coach insist that the pitch didn’t contribute to his team’s loss against South Africa as speculated by many, and wants them to remain in Uyo to finish both the World Cup 2018 and AFCON 2019 qualifiers as well.
Also Reacting to reports in the media that the federation has moved the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cameroon to Port Harcourt after the 2019 AFCON qualifier loss to South Africa, Dr. Sanusi Mohammed said he was not aware of such decision.
“We have not changed venue of Super Eagles matches from Uyo to any other venue. I read the reports, but I can tell you that the NFF did not take such decision. For now, Uyo remains home for the Eagles,” Sanusi stated.
“If we decide to change venue for Eagles home games, it will be communicated to the media, CAFand FIFA. For all I know, we have not changed venue. Uyo has been good to us and we cannot because we lost to South Africa run away from there.”
He assured that the Super Eagles would bounce back from the home defeat to South Africa and go ahead to qualify for the 2019 AFCON, adding that it was a good experience for coach Gernot Rohr ahead of the very important clash with Cameroon
The NFF scribe also revealed that Rohr will be monitoring the Confederation cup going on in Russia with emphasis on African champions Cameroon ahead of the August world cup qualifier.