Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has lamented missing out on featuring for France at the international level during his distinguished playing career.
Despite being eligible to play for both France and Germany, Rohr never played for the senior team of both European nations.
Born in Germany, Rohr was on the payroll of Bayern Munich for two years before he moved to hometown club Waldhof Mannheim and later Kickers Offenbach.
The former defender’s fine performances earned him a call-up to the German Olympic team, but he didn’t make the step up to the senior national side before he departed for France to join Girondins Bordeaux.
Rohr became one of Les Girondins’ defensive pillars and, having secured his French citizenship status, could have made his international debut for Les Bleus against Germany in 1982. But having already featured for a German youth side, he was unfit to play for another national team as per the FIFA rules at the time.
Players who have represented a national team at the youth level can now apply to switch their allegiance and feature for the senior team of another country.
If that rule was in place in the early eighties, Rohr could have been a part of the French side that went on to win the European Championship in 1984.
And it is one landmark event that the former Bordeaux manager has not forgotten several decades after, with Germany’s opening Group F defeat to France bringing back the old memories.
“I almost played this game (France vs Germany) of 82,” Rohr told Europe1 as per Girondins4ever.
“I was naturalised French, and Michel Hidalgo, the coach at the time, who lived in Blaye, came to see me to select me for the French team.
“But as I had already played with the German Olympic team, at the time, we could not change. Today it would have been possible. Suddenly, I couldn’t make that match.”
Rohr shook off the disappointment of not enjoying an international career by becoming a national team manager.
The 67-year-old has since handled Gabon, Burkina Faso, and Niger, among others. He is presently managing Nigeria’s Super Eagles, a team he guided to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.