Gernot Rohr won't dwell on offside goals after Nigeria qualification

Ikechukwu Ezenwa of Nigeria is challenged by Sifiso Hlanti of South Africa Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Coach Gernot Rohr would not dwell on two disallowed goals as he celebrated Nigeria's qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals with a 1-1 draw against South Africa at the FNB Stadium on Saturday. 

Nigeria return to the continental showpiece for the first time since 2013 after securing the point they needed to ensure they could not finish outside of the top two in Group E.

They went ahead through an own-goal from South Africa defender Buhle Mkhwanazi, but conceded late in the first half as Lebo Mothiba drew the hosts level.

Nigeria also had two goals ruled out for offside when replays showed the officials had erred, but Rohr did not want to dwell on this misfortune.

"It was not easy, we knew it would be a difficult game because South Africa had to win to be sure to be qualified," Rohr said after the match. 

"The most important thing was to play this match like a final. It would have been more beautiful to win and I have heard the goal scored by my captain [Ahmed Musa] was not offside, but I am satisfied with this result.

"Some of our players, especially the captain, is too quick for the linesman. But it was a good result, let's forget now these two goals that were not given.

"We had some problems in the first half, especially on the left side, but we played better in the second half and had some counter-attack opportunities. I am happy for this young team." 

Rohr switched to a 3-5-2 formation for the game, which he says worked for the heat and the altitude of Johannesburg by making them more compact.

"Our system when we play three behind is because we want to be close together, to let them come and these conditions were very difficult," he said. 

"Everybody did well, we scored a very important goal. Perhaps if [Odion] Ighalo was here we could have scored more goals, but we are satisfied with this result. 

"We did it [3-5-2] already in the World Cup against Iceland, which was a good game. When you go away and you want to win the game or draw, it is good to change and give a surprise to the opponent.

'We had three very good central defenders, we believe it was the best organisation for today."