Gernot Rohr says the Super Eagles 1-1 draw against Cape Verde in Tuesday’s Group C 2022 World Cup qualifier feels like a win for his team.
The Eagles got off to a perfect start after Victor Osimhen opened scoring under one minute after a poor clearance by a Cape Verde player.
But the visitors equalized on six minutes from a corner through Stopira.
The draw saw the three-time African champions qualify into the play-off round with 13 points.
And fielding questions after the game, Rohr praised his players for holding out after failing to get the winner.
“First of all, a draw can be like a victory, for today because we wanted to qualify and knew that a draw means qualification. It was not an easy game because Cape Verde are a good technical team and they scored in the moment we believed we had the match in our hands.
“But we missed a lot of chances in the first half especially, we deserve to score a second goal but it didn’t come so we had to defend and the players did it well.”
Odion Ighalo made his first appearance since coming out of international retirement as he paired Osimhen in attack before being withdrawn.
And Rohr feels he needs time due to the fact that he has been away from the team for over one year.
“We need a little patience with Ighalo. He was not with us for more than one year and we need time to find the harmony and I think he did some interesting things with Osimhen who will grow and learn a lot.
“Now for the AFCON we can prepare, today was like a final, very special game so what we ask for is little patience, give us a little time to work on the two of them then the goals will come again.”
And when asked where the Eagles need to improve ahead of next year’s AFCON and the play-off in March, he said:”The improvement I want to see in my team is for them to exploit their scoring opportunities, to be more effective offensively.
“Also I want to see them play quicker from behind it’s still too slow from behind for me, I want to have quicker football with one, two touches, our central defenders still take much time to bring the ball forward, So we have to work on it, we had 13 points from six matches which is not bad.
” So after this group stage we can be optimistic, now we have the time to prepare for the AFCON, some of our players are coming back from injuries , Ndidi, Chukwueze. So let’s give our players time to be better.”
By James Agberebi
Photo: By Ganiyu Yusuf
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