‘No players in Manchester, Liverpool, Chelsea’ – Rohr insists Ndidi, Iheanacho not yet Eagles stars :: All Nigeria Soccer

'No players in Manchester, Liverpool, Chelsea' - Rohr insists Ndidi, Iheanacho not yet Eagles stars

‘No players in Manchester, Liverpool, Chelsea’ – Rohr insists Ndidi, Iheanacho not yet Eagles stars

Former Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr has acknowledged that the current generation of Super Eagles players are living in the shadow of Nigeria’s golden generation of the 1990s and early 2000s.

The last time Nigeria hosted the Africa Cup of Nations in 2000, they had three former African Footballers of the Year in their squad, namely Nwankwo Kanu, Victor Ikpeba and Emmanuel Amunike, who were then on the books of European powerhouses Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona respectively.

The 2000 squad also contained Chelsea fullback Celestine Babayaro, Paris Saint-Germain duo Godwin Okpara and Jay-Jay Okocha, Juventus star Sunday Oliseh and Ajax’s Tijani Babangida.

Rohr explained why Nigeria won’t be on the same level as Algeria and Egypt at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, insisting that Leicester City duo Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are not yet stars in the mould of  Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), édouard Mendy (Chelsea) ,
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) and Bouna Sarr (Bayern Munich) who play for glamorous European teams.

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Speaking to celebrated football magazine World Soccer, Rohr stated : “Nigeria don’t have these big stars like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu or Victor Ikpeba. [Wilfried] Ndidi is not yet a star; [Kelechi] Iheanacho not yet either.

“They don’t have any players in Liverpool, Manchester, Munich or Chelsea, which is the case for Senegal, Egypt, and Ivory Coast.

“The biggest clubs are perhaps Leicester, or possibly Napoli with Victor Osimhen.

“When you don’t have the players in fantastic clubs, playing the semi-finals or quarter-finals of the Champions League all the time, you cannot pretend to be better than Algeria or Egypt.

“That’s the question of football without stars. It’s more collective football.”

Of the twenty-seven players with the Super Eagles in Cameroon, only Porto fullback Zaidu Sanusi and Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze played in this season’s Champions League group stage.

Igho Kingsley

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