Gernot Rohr will lead out the Super Eagles against the Barea of Madagascar on Sunday – their last Group B match of AFCON 2019, knowing he has an obligation to ‘fight’ his ‘in-laws’ and possibly seal Nigeria’s top position in the group, then stand in good stead to also go past a Round of 16 opponent, reports.

Rohr is married to a Malagasy woman, and this AFCON confrontation against the Barea implies that the Franco-German dares ‘shaking a family table’. But he is duty-bound to suspend marital bliss, perform his obligation and win with Nigeria.

Rohr met his wife in Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean with less than a million dwellers which is a French district east of Madagascar. Rohr reportedly invested in hospitality business on the island because of its huge tourism attraction. And his wife now runs his hotel there.

A win at the Alexandria Stadium on Sunday will be Rohr’s 19th win in 32 matches as the Super Eagles coach since he was contracted by the Nigeria Football Federation in August 2016.

Going into the match against Madagascar, Rohr has recorded 18 wins, five draws and eight defeats in 31 games as Nigeria coach.

Rohr was given a 66th birthday treat by the Super Eagles players and the officials of the NFF at the team’s Helnan Palestine Hotel in Alexandria on Friday . Leon Balogun also got his own share of the fun same day, on his 31st birthday.

The Barea of Madagascar


The coach will certainly fancy crowning it a perfect 66th birthday with not only bagging his 19th Nigeria win against his Madagascan in-laws, but also going all the way to achieve what will excite Nigerians the most – winning the nation’s fourth AFCON title on July 19.

Rohr has a vast experience of African football needed to follow through at AFCON 2019 and beyond it, having coached Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel and the national teams of Gabon, Niger Republic and Burkina Faso before landing his Nigeria job.

The Madagascar – Nigeria match at the Alexandria Stadium on Sunday will kick off at 5pm Nigerian time. Simultaneously, the Syli Nationale of Guinea and the Swallows of Burundi will clash in the other matchday-3 game at the Al Salam Stadium, Cairo.

Nigeria lead the pack on six points, and at least a draw against the Barea will be enough for the Eagles to win the group.

Madagascar are second on four points, and look good to advance either as group winner (with a win vs Nigeria) or as second-placed team (with draw vs Nigeria) or as one of the four best third-placed teams – if Guinea claim the second position with a combination of big win against Burundi and a favourable Eagles’ victory in Alexandria.

By Nnamdi Ezekute

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