Super Eagles Coach Questions Timing Of Nigeria-Mexico Friendly
Nigeria and Mexico have agreed to play a friendly match in July, but Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is uncertain what the fixture at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in California is expected to accomplish, as he will be unable to call on the services of his first-team players.
Rohr says he will be able to select players only from the Nigerian domestic league for the fixture against CONCACAF Gold Cup holders Mexico, with his Europe-based contingent expected to be on vacation or with their clubs in pre-season ahead of the new campaign.
“To get the Super Eagles in Europe is impossible,” Rohr said in an interview.
“They will all be in pre-season with their clubs. So, I will be able only to make selection of players from Nigeria.”
The situation is worsened by the timing of the fixture, which forms part of Mexico’s MexTour series, as it comes outside of the FIFA window for international matches.
However, the Nigeria-based players also need to come together in order to start preparing for the next African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers and to provide a pathway into the senior squad.
But the timing and venue of the fixture between the three-time Africa Cup of Nations champions and Mexico, with its potential for visa pitfalls, have left Rohr scratching his head.
In the event of some or all of the Nigerian players running into visa issues, Rohr might have to explore the option of calling up players from Major League Soccer and USL Championship in the United States.
“That is a possibility,” Rohr added. “But we will have to wait and see.”
That might open the door to the likes of Sunusi Ibrahim, who joined CF Montreal recently from Nasarawa United, with whom he led the Nigeria Professional Football League scoring table with 10 goals from 22 games.
Also likely available for selection would be the veteran duo of Nashville SC’s Jalil Anibaba and Sebastien Ibeagha of New York City FC, and David Egbo of Vancouver Whitecaps.
The announcement of the game against Mexico comes after the NFF confirmed a friendly for the Super Eagles against Cameroon in Austria in June and a three-game series for the Super Falcons against Jamaica, Portugal and the U.S. Women’s National Team in Texas.
Chidi Nwoke/The Guardian.