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Super Eagles Original Squad List : Rohr Clarifies Why Dessers Was Picked Over Onuachu

First Bank Nigeria

Gernot Rohr has explained the rationale behind his decision to drop Paul Onuachu from the original list of players invited for the two international friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia this month.

The German tactician was heavily criticized at home and abroad for picking Cyriel Dessers over his Racing Genk teammate Onuachu, who has been firing on all cylinders since the start of the season and currently tops the goal chart in Belgium with seven strikes.

Rohr argued that the list for the friendlies was compiled several weeks before it was made public by the Nigerian Federation and Dessers was clearly ahead of Onuachu in Genk’s pecking order of strikers as at that time.

Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor), Ramon Azeez (Granada), Joshua Maja (Girondins Bordeaux) and Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco) were all placed on standby for the two games.

On what he considered before putting these players on standby, Rohr said : “We are looking at what they are doing in their clubs of course and we had to do the list very early, five weeks before for the visa issue and the COVID-19 protocol, it was a very special situation.

“And in this moment most of the leagues did not play, so we based our list on what was happening in the moment when we did it.

“In the last days they started the leagues so we saw some players playing. For example we had Dessers and Osimhen on the list and Dessers did not play so much, he’s together with Onuachu in the same club, Onuachu starting the games all the time scoring goals and Cyriel Dessers was only a substitute.

“When Osimhen was out we invited Onuachu who was on the standby list so the standby list is in case of injuries.

“We did a list with 29 with standby players and now we are 26. The other team Algeria with 25, Tunisia 26, there are two games, there is traveling.

“We have have to do another COVID-19 test so you never know what can happen that’s why it is important to have boys on the standby list”.

Nigeria’s friendly with Algeria comes up at the Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt in Austria this evening, starting from 1930 hours.

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