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2022 World Cup qualifiers: Why I snubbed Awoniyi for Liberia and Cape Verde games – Rohr

Despite his impressive goalscoring form in Germany, the striker was overlooked for the games against the Lone Star and Blue Sharks

Coach Gernot Rohr defended his decision of not inviting Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi for the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde.

The former Liverpool forward has been in fine scoring form in the 2021-22 campaign – finding the net five times in his last five matches for the Iron Ones across all competitions.

Even at that, he was not found worthy to be called up for the assignments against the Lone Stars and the Blue Sharks.

Having in mind that the three-time African champions would be without their England based stars against Cape Verde on September 7 in Mindelo, the German tactician was queried on his decision to leave out the Bundesliga star.

In his defence, the former Burkina Faso and Niger Republic handler claimed his team already had four centre forwards and as such, there was no place for Awoniyi.

“There are people calling for Awoniyi while also there are those calling for other players,” Rohr told the media during Thursday’s press conference.

“We can only bring three centre forwards, we have already [Victor] Osimhen, we have Paul Onuachu, we have [Terem] Moffi who is doing well in Lorient and we even have Kelechi [Iheanacho].

“So, which one do you want me to bring out to put in Awoniyi?”

Victory over Liberia will boost Nigeria’s chances of picking a ticket for Qatar 2022, and Rohr warned his side against underrating Peter Butler’s side.

“We played against them in a friendly in Monrovia two or three years ago, and from that team, they still have some players,” he continued.

“Also, we watched their three friendly games in June. They played in Tunisia twice and the one other game in Algeria.

“They have some players playing in big clubs like [Oscar] Dorley playing in Slavia Prague and [Allen] Njie in Switzerland.

“They have a good centre forward [Kpah] Sherman playing in Malaysia. So, I think we know them and I have talked to my players that they are a good team and we should never underrate them.”

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