Rohr points out Bafana support problem
Posted: 20 November 2018 Time: 08:00
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr says he was taken aback by the lack of Bafana Bafana support for their “big game” at the FNB Stadium on the weekend.
Bafana hosted the African heavyweights for the return leg of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifier, having previously won in Uyo some 18 months ago.
The perceived rivalry with the Super Eagles stems from South Africa’s first and only AFCON title win in 1996, but their dominance had certainly been put under threat by their first defeat on home soil.
Bafana have since followed it up with a 1-1 draw – suggesting real improvement as they took four points off the three-time African champions in the qualifying campaign, but somehow managed to bottle it at home to Libya and away to Seychelles.
Nonetheless, Stuart Baxter’s charges needed an intimidating atmosphere like they experienced in the away leg, but that was not to be as the stadium was barely half-filled almost evenly between South Africans and Nigerians.
Rohr admitted he was warned beforehand of the large support base they could expect of those having immigrated to Johannesburg but was particularly shocked by the modest crowd that was far outnumbered by orange seats.
“Our people told me we had a lot of fans already – a lot of Nigerians who are living in South Africa, so I was not surprised,” said Rohr.
“But I was surprised that the stadium was so empty. You have such a big and important game for your country, and you only have – I don’t know how many, but not even half of the stadium was full.
“I think there is a problem, I don’t understand why. If you have a match like this in Nigeria, you can have a stadium filled with 200 000 people.
“I think you’re missing a little bit of [support]. Even though the people who were at the game were very good, but they were not enough. You should have much more in the future.”