I didn’t force any players to sign contracts – Rohr

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Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has denied a report alleging that he was forcing players of the national team to sign contracts with a particular agency in exchange for the 2018 World Cup spots.

An  online medium on April 11 stated that, “There are rumours that Rohr has joined forces with DW Sports Management to force Super Eagles players to sign representative agreements with the France-based agency or be omitted from the roster for the World Cup.”

The report also alleged that CSKA Moscow forward Ahmed Musa and Gent’s Moses Simon joined the DW Sports Management a  few months after Rohr paid the duo visits at their clubs.

But the 65-year-old German manager  warned that such a report  could land those behind it in trouble.
“It’s a big joker. I was laughing so much if I had to start these things now at 65. So, let’s laugh. When I returned from the seminar in Russia and made a stop in Moscow to see Ahmed Musa, it was to see him and it was a coincidence that we played there,” Rohr stated on Monday Night Football on SuperSport.

“Our players are free to meet the agents they want, and I’m not interested in other things than being the coach of the Eagles. I never did it.  I’m 45 years now in professional football, why should I start it now? These people must be very careful, saying such bad things about our players,  especially about  Moses Simon; about his private life, very bad allegations. They have to be careful because one day a lawyer will come and they will finish in prison.”

The ex-Niger manager also revealed that his provisional 35-man World Cup list would be out on May 14, adding that though the players who played  the qualifiers are  top on his priority list, the local league players had “a little chance” of making the squad to Russia.

“Yes, it’s (the list) exactly one month before the World Cup and we will be ready and we will speak about it next week, the most important thing is to have a good structure for  preparations,” he said.

“The surprises can only come if some players are doing so well and we have to take them, it will be wonderful to see some surprises. But the players who brought us to the World Cup without any defeat are the first choice now.

“The (home-based) boys have a little chance if they play very well  for  their clubs, you know we have to take the fittest also. In the first 35-man list, they have a chance.”

The coach backed  young Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, who has been his preferred choice over Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi in the Eagles’ last two games.

He said, “Our goalkeeping coach is working with him, he will do another 10 days work with him. The staff of La Coruna, and (Clarence) Seedorf allowed us to work with him. He already has three very good games with us. He kept a clean sheet against Argentina, against Poland you saw what he did against (Robert) Lewandowski but he’s very young. I’m not afraid to have confidence in young players.”

Though Rohr is pleased with the club form of his attackers, he however spotted the Eagles’ defence as the problematic area of the team “at the moment.”

“When you see what happened this weekend, (Odion) Ighalo scored four goals, Musa scored two, Victor Moses scored one and had an assist, Kelechi (Iheanacho) played very well at Leicester,  but didn’t score. Alex Iwobi played also. So, I’m not pessimistic about this department. We have  Mikel Obi, who can give good balls and also score. I think we will be able to score some goals at the World Cup.

“My problem at the moment is in the defence because (Leon) Balogun is injured, William Troost-Ekong is not playing since they changed the coach (at his club). Tyronne Ebuehi is injured and Elderson Echiejile is not playing many games, so we have to check our defence also.”

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