Rohr calls up youngsters Tijani, Lawal for Eagles friendlies

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has confirmed the invitation of former Golden Eaglets captain Samson Tijani and goalkeeper Tobias Lawal for next month’s friendly games against Ivory Coast and Tunisia in Austria.

The two youngsters are based in the European country and Rohr is ready to have them train with his team next month.

Tijani, who captained Nigeria to the 2019 Fifa U17 World Cup in Brazil, is plying his trade in the Austrian Bundesliga with Hartberg, whom he joined on a season-long loan from RB Salzburg in August.

On Sunday, the 18-year-old midfielder was sent off in a league game after receiving two yellow cards in his team’s 2-0 loss against Wolfsberger AC.

Lawal, however, has featured for the Austria U19 and U20 teams previously – his country of birth – but he is still eligible to play for the three-time African champions.

The 20-year-old plays for LASK in the Austrian top-flight but he is yet to play for the first-team this season.

“I invited two players from Austria. One of them you know him, Samson Tijani. He was the captain of our under-17 team that played the World Cup last year,” Rohr told ESPN.

“He signed for Red Bull Salzburg, he is also midfielder 18 years old and he’s on the loan to TSV Hartberg, a first division club. But I’m not afraid to invite him especially because he’s in Austria already.

“Also, the goalkeeper, Tobias Lawal. He’s a young goalkeeper, playing in Linz. He was on the bench for the European games.

“They had a very good European rally last year, they made it a good competition. And he played already sometimes, he was already in Austria’s under-20 [side] but only a friendly.”

The Super Eagles battle Ivory Coast on October 9 before facing Tunisia on October 13 in Austria.

Rohr disclosed what he hopes to achieve with the games, which would be Nigeria’s first outing since their 4-2 win over Lesotho last November in the 2022 Afcon qualifiers.

“The First [goal] is to renew our team spirit, to rebuild our good playing of offensive football like we did in the last games before the pandemic came, scoring a lot of goals,” he added.

“I am watching also for progress in the defensive work, not to get all the time a goal and then you have to run off the time to fight to win the game. We want to improve our defensive work.

“There are some tactics also I want to see it again. We played a different system in the second half in Lesotho. Do you remember we had the 3-5-2? We had also a 4-4-2 and we had this 4-2-3-1 sometimes.

“So, it is necessary to find quickly again, our organization.

“That is why it is good to have players on our list who are already here with us and it is not easy for the new ones immediately to come in the team where they never played before.

“But we have to check, we have to see to give them a chance in the training sessions and also, a match is going 90 minutes so we can make six changes in friendly matches.”

(Goal)

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