Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, has revealed that he will not man-mark Argentine and Barcelona striker, Lionel Messi at the Summer World Cup in Russia.
Rather, the coach believes that the best way to cage one of the most dangerous strikers in the world was through a collective defensive method.
According to him, man-marking players were old fashioned, saying that it was no longers used too often these days.
Nigeria will play Argentina, Iceland and Croata in the World Cup group stage with the first two teams in the group qualifying for the knockout stage.
But in an interview with a South African newspaper, Rohr said, “I can tell you now that there will be no man-marking of Messi. We did this in the old days, but it’s not used too often these days. We will deal with Messi or any big player as a collective. But often you won’t be able to keep top players quiet over the whole 90 minutes.
“At this stage, there is no special plan. We don’t even know whether he will play. We all know him and we know his quality. But we also played against some really good players in our qualification and were able to deal with them. We had Riyad Mahrez; we played against Sadio Mane and Senegal in a friendly. We know how to organise our defence against top quality players.”
Rohr noted that Super Eaglres 4-2 defeat of Argentina in a friendly was not to the country’s advantage on the premise that Argentina would take Nigeria game very serious in Russia.
Of the friendly he said, “Remember, Messi didn’t play. So we are very cautious and have to analyse this great result in context. Argentina had played another friendly against Russia in Russia before facing us. Perhaps they were a bit tired. I think no one should overrate the result. I definitely won’t overrate it. It was definitely not to our advantage because Argentina will take us more seriously now.”
The coach said that as part of his preparation for the World Cup, he would scout on Argentina and the other group opponents, saying that he had started analyzing video games involving our group opponents.
“Like everyone else is doing it these days, we will scout our opponents. We will send scouts to watch their games. We have already started to analysing videos of our opponents and we will try to get as much information as possible about our opponents.
“But we will also monitor and scout our own players in order to choose the best squad. And we have lined up our friendly games against teams that are playing similarly to the opponents in our group.”