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  • Writer's picturetonyogaga

…German opens up on Dennis Eagles’ snub

Gernot Rohr has opened up on why he did not give enough minutes to former Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi and Watford star Emmanuel Dennis while he was in charge of the Nigeria national team.

The former Super Eagles manager was criticised for naming almost the same set of players in his squad lists, leaving out some in-form players.

Awoniyi was handed a maiden call-up to the national team for the World Cup qualifiers against Central African Republic in October only because Lorient striker Terem Moffi suffered an injury in his last game before he was due to report for international duty.

Dennis, Nigeria's most in-form player in the top five European Leagues, has been in the international wilderness for more than a year, with his last appearance for the Super Eagles coming against Sierra Leone in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in November 2020.

Rohr always maintained that he could not name more than three center forwards on his roster, with Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu often getting the nod from the Franco-German.

"We have tried so many players. Awoniyi has been invited; he played 45 minutes against the Central African Republic," Rohr said to ESPN's Colin Udoh.

"He was unlucky, but he would have been invited again. Dennis has been invited also. He came in twice against Sierra Leone.

"And all the other ones have been invited or would have been invited. We have so many strikers that you cannot invite six centre-forwards."

He continued : "I know that all Nigerians are passionate about football, and everybody has his own favourite for this. And I understand that everybody wants to see their favourite players.

"What is true is that perhaps I didn't follow the suggestions or the advice of the officials to invite certain players.

"That is possible because I wanted to do the choice with my technical staff and not with people from outside the team."

Nigeria's longest-serving coach Rohr was dismissed on Sunday after five years, four months and 10 days in charge of the Super Eagles.

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