Gernot Rohr has explained the reason newly invited goalkeepers Matthew Yakubu and Sebastian Osigwe did not get a chance to feature in their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone in November.
The Super Eagles squandered an opportunity to qualify with a game at hand after they tossed away a four-goal lead to draw 4 – 4 with Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
Rohr had preferred Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Maduka Okoye in both fixtures as the team went on to play a goalless draw in the reverse leg in Freetown.
The Franco-German in his reason, claimed that the games were competitive to try out new players.
Meanwhile, the 67-year-old handed debuts to Frank Onyeka and Kevin Akpoguma, who switched his allegiance from Germany to Nigeria.
“We tried in the last few friendlies and even the international games in Benin City and in Freetown, we had some new players,” he continued.
“We had some players who decided to come with us, leaving, for example, Germany U20, U23 like Akpoguma who decided to come with us, it is fantastic
“But they need the time to come in and it’s not easy in a few training sessions only to find exactly the right way to play with the team, it’s easier for the other ones who were with us in the World Cup and played with us in the Afcon.
“We have to try to invite better players, friendlies are good for that to see them. When they are friendlies it is not for the result we are playing, we want to see new faces.
“We tried new goalkeepers, new wingers, new defenders and the midfielder from Midtjylland Onyeka, the Austrian goalkeeper.
“We saw a lot of players in the friendlies but they are not enough, we only have two since one year. When you have games that you need results it is not the best moment for the players and for the team to invite new ones.”
Nigeria will take on the Republic of Benin and Lesotho in their next Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March.