Rohr must be allowed to focus on Cameroon

Gernot Rohr during the 2019 AFCON qualifier between Nigeria and South Africa. Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix

Hitting the panic button is a trait that comes super easy to Nigerian football fans and, sad to say, administrators.

Of course it would be ignorant to say that this is exclusive to Nigerian football. The world over, and especially in Africa, reactions to losses are not always pleasant affairs.

But there is a degree of quirky to which the Nigerian experience descends to that just goes beyond normal.

Since losing 2-0 at home to South Africa, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has seen his every decision leading up to and during the game called into question.

It is one thing to analyze a coach's selections, but there have been at least one suggestion of impropriety, outrageous in its origins, and just plain lacking substance.

Sports minister Solomon Dalung called a crisis meeting days after the game, with both coach and the NFF's Technical Committee, with the committee seeking more oversight over the German's selection decisions.

This, naturally, led to friction, with reports emerging not long after that Rohr was threatening to resign if not allowed the freedom to do his job.

With less than a month to go to the first of the double-header against Cameroon, these distractions are completely unnecessary.

What is even more unnecessary is the reported insistence by the NFF's Technical Committee on 'vetting' Rohr's future call-ups.

How this makes sense in any way is as hard to fathom as is the wisdom of those defending it. The coach, like every other, has a remit, and that is to win qualification for both the African Cup of Nations and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

To do that he has to win games. But losing games is also part of the equation. And it is all good and well to objectively and technically analyze the reasons leading up to a loss and learn the lessons therefrom.

What is not good and well is a committee, no matter how well-stacked with technical and playing competence, trying to usurp the job of the coaching staff by 'vetting' his selections.

Hypothetically, assuming the committee actually vets the team selection, what exactly would that involve? The coach submitting his list, having some players that the committee consider as lacking merit dropped and then replacing them with players of their own suggestion?

If that happens, the coach picks the players selected by the committee and the team go on to lose the game, would the committee raise their collective hands and take responsibility?

If the team eventually fails to qualify for the World Cup and the coach gets fired, would the committee also impale themselves on their own swords? Or do they allow the coach to take the fall alone?

One would suggest the latter ...

What appears to have got lost is that the NFF Technical Committee has focused on only one very small part of its ambit. Its major responsibility lies in setting policy goals for the technical development of football and players in Nigeria.

So far, in all its years of operation, especially in the last decade, there has been no policy document coming out of the Technical Committee with long-term goals for the development of football in the country.

Most of their attention has been focused on coaches, and mostly that of the men's senior national team. This committee must look inwards. Nigerian football will benefit immensely from structured policy planning as opposed to haranguing a national team coach.

Win or lose, one man takes responsibility for a team's results. That man is the coach. And in Nigeria's case, that coach is Gernot Rohr. If he fails, he gets fired. It is that simple.

So it would be a good idea to just let him do his job.