Nigeria Will Avoid London for Friendlies After Burkina Faso Visa Problems: Coach Gernot Rohr

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr, left, with Senegal coach Aliou Cisse at The Hive, Barnet, London, March 23.
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr, left, with Senegal coach Aliou Cisse at The Hive, Barnet, London, March 23. Rohr says Nigeria may avoid London in the future after a friendly match with Burkina Faso was canceled over visa issues. Peter Cziborra/Reuters

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has claimed the Super Eagles will avoid future friendly internationals in London after the country’s game against Burkina Faso scheduled for Monday was canceled.

Burkina Faso, the third-placed finisher at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, had been expected to provide stiff opposition for Rohr’s team as it builds towards FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers in August and September against Cameroon.

But seven Burkina Faso players failed to secure visas so Nigeria held a training game among its own squad at The Hive, home of English League Two club Barnet.

“Yes, yes, because it’s too complicated to get the visas, you know,” Rohr, 63, told Empowersmag.com when asked after the training game if Nigeria could stay away from friendlies in the U.K. in future. “I think it’s better to stay in Schengen, in Europe than go to London where the people have problems. Even some players in our team couldn’t come, you know. They didn’t get the visa in time.”

Rohr pointed out the positive aspects of Nigeria’s short trip to London, though, noting that the training exercise had allowed him to make a fuller evaluation of his squad.

“We tried to find another team but it was too late,” the German said. “We had one very good game against a Senegal team [that was] so strong, so powerful, we learned a lot. Now we look forwards to our next games.

“The second game, between us, I could see everybody,” Rohr added. “Some players need to play because they don’t play all the time at their clubs. It was an opportunity for them.”

The strange situation allowed Rohr to see several of his star forwards at once, with Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City and Alex Iwobi of Arsenal lining up against Watford’s record signing Isaac Success, who made his debut against Senegal on Thursday.