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Nigeria: Coach Gernot Rohr opens door for Simy Nwankwo 

Nwankwo Simy of Crotone celebrates the equalizing goal during the serie A match between FC Crotone and Juventus at Stadio Comunale Ezio Scida on April 18, 2018 in Crotone, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maricchiolo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Nigeria: Coach Gernot Rohr opens door for Simy Nwankwo 

Simy Nwankwo is hoping to return to the national team thanks to his performances this season in Italian Serie A. Absent from the national team since September 2018, the Crotone striker (19 goals) must however change clubs, to maximize his chances according to Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr.

Simy Nwankwo has been a revelation in Serie A this season. The Nigerian of Crotone is indeed exploding in the statistics. With 19 goals in 34 games, he is the 3rd best striker in the Italian league. He is behind Ronaldo (25 goals) of Juventus and Lukaku (21 goals) of Inter Milan. Although these two attacking monsters are ahead of him in the rankings, Nwankwo has been on a roll since the beginning of 2021. In that time, the Super Eagle has struck 15 times. No player has done better in the five major European leagues.

Despite these amazing performances, Simy was "forgotten" during the two rounds of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers in March.

What about Nigeria's next outing in June for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers? The national coach, Gernot Rohr, may find it difficult to continue ignoring Simy as his statistics would probably cause an uproar in the country.

But Gernot Rohr seems to have a compelling argument. The competition is huge," says the former Gabon coach. We have Osimhen, Iheanacho from Leicester and Onuachu from Genk, who is very similar to Simy in terms of characteristics and build. Not to mention Sadiq and Ighalo. So it is very difficult to be part of the Nigerian attack. We have some very good players."

 

Rohr charts a course for his return

Absent from the national team since 2018, Simy has a chance of returning to the Super Eagles. Only on one condition, according to the Nigeria coach. "I know Simy very well, it was I who called him for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Russia," the coach recalled in Europa Calcio. But afterwards, he played for a while in Serie B (Italian D2). I have never forgotten him and I have always watched him. It's not today that I am."

Rohr continued: "As I said before, I never stopped following his performances. But I believe that next year he should go and play for a stronger club and team than Crotone. He will already have a better chance to come back to the national team even if, it won't be so easy."

Simy was top scorer in Italian Serie B last season with 21 goals in 38 games.

Philemon MBALE

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