Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Is Gernot Rohr's Start the Best Ever?

Nigeria's manager, Gernot Rohr, began his tenure unbeaten in four games against Tanzania, Zambia, Algeria, and Senegal. It is an impressive start with just one tie in four games. However, is this the best ever start by a Nigerian manager? To answer the question, we examine the records. 

The records indicate that Rohr's start, while impressive, is no where near the most impressive start by a Nigerian manager (see Table 1). In fact, Rohr's current performance ranks 13th. He will need to keep an unbeaten slate in the next six games to hold the mantle of the best start for a Nigerian manager. That is surely a steep hill to climb. Can he do it? It is certainly possible. After all, three previous Nigerian managers began their first nine games unbeaten with Augustine Eguavoen being the latest to achieve that feat. The others are Johaness Bonfrere and Jorge Penna.

However, Gernot Rohr's first four games have included three competitive matches! That is just one international friendly in his first four starts. Impressive? Well, we compare him to other managers with same match profile i.e. just one international friendly in at least four starts (see Table 2). Only three previous times, has a Nigerian manager surpassed Rohr's current results! Shuaibu Amodu did it two times. In his fourth stint as Nigerian manager, Amodu won his first five games which were all competitive. In his fifth stint, he began with a draw in an international friendly (v Austria) before winning six straight competitive games! Johaness Bonfrere started his second stint with nine competitive games and was unbeaten in all. Of course, some will argue that the 2000 Cup of Nations final against Cameroon was a loss but record-wise it ended in a draw (officially) with the Cup awarded to Cameroon after a tie-breaker was applied. 

Finally, we compare efficiency for the Top-10 Nigerian managers who were unbeaten in at least their first four starts (see Table 3). Gernot Rohr is 7th with efficiency of .83 which is behind six other managers, all with higher efficiency scores. Otto Gloria, who won the 1980 Cup of African Nations for Nigeria, leads the pack with an efficiency score of 0.92. Shuaibu Amodu is both second and third.

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