Gernot Rohr Explains Why Hoffenheim’s Kevin Akpoguma Will Miss Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia Friendlies

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The Nigerian national team handler recently released the list of players with which he plans to prosecute the two international friendly matches slated for next month, but the name of the former Germany youth international was conspicuously miss

Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has revealed that he played a significant role in getting Hoffenheim’s Kevin Akpoguma to switch allegiance from Germany to Nigeria.

Recall that the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, days ago, confirmed that the 25-year-old defender had communicated his desire to be a part of the Super Eagles set-up.

A pleased Rohr has since detailed the trouble he went through to convince the former Germany U-20 skipper to dump his country of birth for the three-time African champions.

“It was not my job to convince [Kevin] Akpoguma to come and play for Nigeria,” Rohr told BBC Sport.

“I had a good conversation with him and his family while watching several games in Hoffenheim.

“After the matches, we met and could talk. I presented our projects, and I could speak about the team, about this incredible period in the Super Eagles and my vision for the team.

“He was sold on this and would love to be a part of the team and play in big international competitions like the Africa Cup of Nations or even the World Cup.

“We are very happy about the decision of Kevin Akpoguma to switch from Germany to Nigeria.”

Rohr on Monday made public a list of experienced and uncapped players expected to meet in October to face the duo of Cote d’Ivoire and Tunisia in Austria.

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However, Akpoguma’s name was not on the list and Rohr explains that the defender’s debut for Nigeria would be delayed as FIFA was yet to ratify his change of allegiance.

“Because he played for Germany at youth levels, the process is not finished yet because Fifa must give the authorisation.

“He has fulfilled the written request to switch, and we only await the good news that he can finally play for us,” Rohr continued.

“It’s too soon to expect him to play our two friendlies in October, but hopefully for the Nations Cup qualifiers in November.”

Nigeria face Cote d’Ivoire on the ninth of October before marching out against Tunisia four days later.

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