…says Chukwueze, Collins gave team freshness
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has said the defeat to South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers propelled his side to a better performance in the AFCON proper after they handed a 2-1 to Bafana Bafana in the quarter-final of the competition in Cairo on Wednesday.
The South Africans shocked their more illustrious opponents in the opening day of the AFCON qualifiers when the ran away with a 2-0 win at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo in 2017 but Rohr’s men took their revenge in the quarter-final of the continental showpiece on Wednesday with Samuel Chukwueze and William Troost-Ekong’s goals.
However, Rohr admitted the loss was still fresh in the memory of his team and it helped them to prepare very well for Wednesday’s encounter.
He said he knew it would be hard for South Africa to replicate within four days the form they produced against Egypt which ensured the elimination of the host team in the round of 16.
“The loss to South Africa in Uyo helped us change a lot of things and also refocus. We were able to beat Cameroon 4-0 during the World Cup qualifiers and have only lost to African opposition twice since then. I have to say thank you to Stuart Baxter for that,” Rohr told newsmen after the match.
“We had a plan and we knew South Africa would find it hard to replicate their performance against Egypt, so we had a slight advantage. We are happy with the win and now we must recover in time for our next opponents.
“The support from the home fans was fantastic. They were fantastic all through the game, but my players also showed good attitude and we played very well, especially in the first half which also gave them something to cheer about. I hope they continue to support us in the tournament.”
He hailed the performance of Samuel Chukwueze and Jamilu Collins who started the game; he said their introduction gave the side an edge.
“We had to fight back with good solidarity, I knew that we had a little advantage with our fresh players some players were coming in today. Collins and Chukwueze started the game, they both did very well and the performance of my team was good,” he added.
The German admitted that the going would get tougher for his side as they awaited their semi-final opponents between Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria.
“The competition will get more difficult now, we have to recover quickly to face our opponents. It may be Algeria or Cote d’Ivoire. They both have strong teams, we are going to be ready for them,” he said.
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