The Super Eagles would not be participating in the AFCON tournament in January and while Gernot Rohr understands the significance of such absence believes the team is motivated by it to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
The Super Eagles currently lead their group with six points after seeing off Zambia and Algeria four points ahead of Cameroon who have two, with the former teams both on one.
Rohr said his team is motivated to play at the World Cup in Russia.
“They are very motivated. To qualify for Russia is more than a dream, it is something they want to have, they missed another AFCON, that is difficult for a big country like Nigeria,” said the Nigerian head coach.
“They are hungry, they want to go to World Cup and because they are young, they don’t have so many titles, experience in international football.
“But they will always fight for their country, they will always give their best.
When asked on the impact being top of the group has had on the team, the German admitted to its good feeling but was quick to add the challenges facing the team in getting to Russia.
“It’s a good feeling (to be top of the group), but there is still a long way to go to Russia. We still have another four games and 12 more points. We are happy but we are also humbled.”
“The players are changing but the philosophy remains the same, the players could come and go but spirit remains and this is very important for the future,” he remarked.
“We must have a stronger team in certain positions, we have some problems, we must be honest about this. Not all is perfect, there is still a lot of work to do in some positions, but we must find better solutions.”