Nige­ria coach points fin­ger at ‘bad egg’journos

The Sunday Independent - - Sport -

ABUJA: Nige­ria coach Ger­not Rohr has ac­cused some re­porters cov­er­ing his team of un­eth­i­cal be­hav­iour and com­ing up with lies in the build-up to their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the World Cup in Rus­sia.

Rohr’s lat­est com­ments come as the Nige­rian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (NFF) at­tempted to quell a storm caused by an in­ter­view the coach granted the Ger­man news­pa­per on Thurs­day.

“I have the ut­most re­spect for Nige­rian journalists, with whom I have had a warm re­la­tion­ship over the past two years that I have been in charge of this won­der­ful team,” Rohr told the fed­er­a­tion’s web­site

Die Welt (thenff.com).

“Over the course of the past two years, I have met so many bril­liant Nige­ri­ans in­clud­ing journalists who have of­fered great ideas and sug­ges­tions, but as in ev­ery pro­fes­sion, there are a num­ber of bad eggs.

“For in­stance, some­one re­ported that my cap­tain, John Mikel Obi and his deputy, Ogenyi Onazi are at war, cre­at­ing fac­tions in camp. This is far from the truth.

“The other day, an­other per­son re­ported that I took money to in­clude some play­ers in the team. We are here pre­par­ing to do the coun­try proud and some­one come up with these lies.”

In the Ger­man-born coach al­leged that Nige­rian me­dia took bribes from play­ers and agents for favourable cov­er­age.

“There is of­ten a lack of ex­per­tise,” he an­swered in re­sponse to a ques­tion about the Nige­rian me­dia.

“In ad­di­tion, play­ers and their ad­vi­sors like to use and gift journalists to put pres­sure on the coach­ing team, for ex­am­ple, if they want to be nom­i­nated for the squad. Nige­ria has a lot of dif­fer­ent me­dia, but un­for­tu­nately not all are se­ri­ous,” Rohr was quoted as say­ing.

The NFF have since claimed Rohr, 64, was quoted out of con­text.

“Ger­not Rohr shares our re­spect and re­gard for the me­dia and would not make deroga­tory state­ments about the most vi­brant me­dia pro­fes­sion­als on the African con­ti­nent,” NFF pres­i­dent Amaju Pin­nick said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

“I have spo­ken to him and he flatly de­nied call­ing mem­bers of the Nige­ria me­dia cor­rupt.

“Of course, he ad­mit­ted say­ing in the said in­ter­view that some per­sons known to work in the me­dia acted as agents and put pres­sure on his crew to in­clude cer­tain play­ers in his World Cup squad.

“He did not say any­one was cor­rupt. He talked about pres­sure from cer­tain quar­ters and some me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tives who posed as agents,” added Pin­nick.

Nige­ria be­gin their World Cup fi­nals Group D cam­paign against Croa­tia in Kalin­ingrad on Satur­day.

Mean­while, Dedryck Boy­ata said he is ready to step in for Vincent Kom­pany if Bel­gium’s bat­tle-hard­ened de­fender fails to re­cover from his groin in­jury in time for their open­ing World Cup Group G game against Panama in Sochi on June 18.

Kom­pany, 32, was in­jured in a pre-tour­na­ment friendly against Por­tu­gal and did not train along with the rest of the team yes­ter­day. – Reuters

Die Welt,

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