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Gernot Rohr willing to accept paycut to remain Nigeria Super Eagles coach

Gernot Rohr is hopeful that he will remain Nigeria coach, but he tells ESPN that he has two more offers in the table if agreement cannot be reached. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images

Gernot Rohr will take a pay cut to continue as Nigeria coach, but he has two offers on the table if he cannot come to an agreement regarding a new contract with the Super Eagles.

Rohr's current deal ends on June 30, and he has been offered a fresh contract by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), with some modified clauses. Under the terms of the new deal, the German is expected to reside in Nigeria and be paid in local currency. He will also take a wage cut.

Rohr has no problems with those conditions.

"I never talk about my contract in public, as you know," Rohr told ESPN.

"But I heard like everybody what was said by President [Amaju] Pinnick, that I have to accept to be paid in naira, and I have to be resident in Nigeria. I agree to these two things, and even I agree to have a lower salary.

"I am not doing my job for money. I am doing my job because I like it. Because we have built a team like you know, and money is not the most important. But I also have to look after my assistants.

"I accept because I think that my mission in Nigeria is not finished yet, and I know very well my players. I know very well the officials. We are now just like a family, and I think it is good to continue especially in this period now where it is difficult to change, to travel, to see new people."

Rohr would not say how much of a cut he is taking from his $US55,000 salary but he made it clear that his three assistants are also paid from his wages and not by the NFF.

"For me it is a little bit special because, as you know, with my salary, we are four people. It is not only me. I have my three assistants, Tunde Adelakun, Nabil Trabelsi and also Jean Luc Royer. I can speak in the name of my assistants because we are in touch all the time.

"Like I told you, I don't speak in public about it. I never spoke about my salary, I only saw that it has been published. But it's for four people and not only for me. A lot of people don't know that."

Rohr, 66, told ESPN that he had returned the NFF's contract proposal with some proposed changes -- which include certain demands of his own -- and hoped an agreement could be reached.

"I want to work free in all my responsibilities," he told ESPN.

"Independence as coach who is responsible for results. It is always good to be sure you can do a work with confidence and be free in the choice of good players.

"We have a good relationship with Pinnick, with [ NFF vice-president] Seyi [Akinwunmi] and with [League Management Company chairman] Shehu [Dikko] so I think we can find an agreement. There is no big problem to change.

"All I can say is that we are discussing in a good spirit with NFF. They sent me the proposal, I sent my answer. There are some little things to discuss about, and then we will see. Everything can be discussed. They have my answer and now I will wait for the proposal coming back."

Rohr might not have to wait long, as a high-ranking NFF official told ESPN that his changes were minor and acceptable.

"Nobody has ever interfered in his job," the official said.

"He has always had the independence to work as he pleases, so we are fine with that. Our lawyer is busy drawing up the final draft of the contract, and once it is ready the next thing you will hear from the NFF is that a new contract has been signed."

In the unlikely event that an agreement is not reached, however, the coach says he has options on the table.

"If the answer I give with some little changes in my contract is positive, I will continue," Rohr told ESPN.

"If not, I have to see what they give me because I have still the request from two other federations. I received it -- they are waiting for my answer -- but I take my time to give the NFF to make the final draft before I answer them."

As a sign of good faith, and in addition to taking a pay cut under the new contract, the NFF official told ESPN that Rohr also went a step further.

"He offered to give up a percentage of his wages during this coronavirus lockdown. So since April, he has only been on a percentage of his salary."

Rohr confirmed, and explained that it was only to be expected under the current situation.

"Of course, everybody in the moment has an obligation to understand that there are no matches. Clubs and federations have problems with money, even if they have assistance from FIFA or UEFA, but everybody has to be ready to make sacrifices.

"So I already told NFF that in the months from April to June, we are agreed to cut our salaries, which is also a sign of solidarity."

Rohr took over from Sunday Oliseh as Nigeria coach in Aug. 2016, since when he led the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where the team failed to reach the second round, and to win the bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

In 49 games with the Super Eagles, Rohr has won 29, drawn 11 and lost 9 for a 59.18 wining percentage.