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We have talent - West hopes young Nigeria can Rohr in Russia

Omnisport
NEWS
News
797   //    16 Jun 2018, 19:04 IST
rohr-cropped
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr

Experienced coach Gernot Rohr can help Nigeria's rising stars prosper at the World Cup in Russia, according to Taribo West.

The African nation begin their campaign against Croatia in Kaliningrad on Saturday, with Argentina and Iceland also in a highly competitive group.

Nigeria have the youngest squad in the tournament but former national team defender West believes Rohr, who has previously worked in Austria, France and Switzerland, as well as his native Germany, can help them cope, despite many of their players lacking experience in European football.

For that reason, West - who represented his country at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups - singled out Chelsea's Victor Moses and Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City as key performers, as well as captain John Obi Mikel.

"Players like Victor, Iheanacho, Obi Mikel have demonstrated their qualities," West told Goal.

"And the advantage of this selection is to have a very experienced coach in Gernot Rohr. He knows the highest level. We rely a lot on him, on his experience.

"It's a team that does not have a lot of experienced players. We do not have big, big players. But I think Rohr has worked hard. Collectively, I find them very strong. It's a young, fresh team.

"We have talent and are mentally strong. But I repeat, these players, apart from a few of them, need to acclimatise to the highest level. European experience is missing in this squad."

Rohr declared in his pre-match news conference on Friday that this World Cup may have come too soon for his squad, with Qatar 2022 a more realistic target for success.

West - who had stints at Inter and AC Milan during his career - acknowledges Nigeria face a tough task to qualify for the knockout stages after the draw left them facing three tricky opponents in Group D.

"It's a very difficult group," he admitted. "Croatia is a high-level team at the moment. They have very strong players.

"Then Iceland, it is not a team that should be neglected. We saw what they did during the European Championship in France.

"And then there is Argentina which is a team used to playing in the biggest international competitions."

Omnisport
NEWS
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