Gernot Rohr backs ‘honest victim’ Salisu Yusuf after bribery sting

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has thrown his weight behind his assistant Salisu Yusuf, who is the subject of an internal NFF investigation after he was secretly filmed receiving cash from undercover reporters posing as football agents. Yusuf has denied that the money was a bribe, describing it as a ‘token’, and Rohr has now come to the defence of his assistant

“I saw the video, and I saw what happened,” Rohr told KweséESPN. “From my experience, Salisu is an honest man.”Those people just want to make trouble, this is people just trying to catch some people,” he added. “Salisu does not need that money; he is a victim of this situation.” The assistant coach, who doubles up as the coach of Nigeria’s Olympics team and the home-based Eagles, is currently in the UK recovering from hip surgery.

However, he is expected to face the NFF’s Ethics Committee upon his return, where Rohr is hopeful of a positive outcome. “I hope the Ethics Committee will listen to him and not to those people,” the German coach concluded, “because I know he is an honest man and a good man.”

When the BBC published footage allegedly showing Yusuf receiving a cash gift from investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas on July 24, he became the latest high-profile African footballing figure to have been implicated in the ongoing bribery scandal affecting sport on the continent. In footage filmed in September 2017, the coach is shown meeting with Anas’s Tiger Eye agency and accepting cash ostensibly to ensure that two players are selected for the CHAN tournament.

Anas’s exposes have already resulted in the disintegration of the Ghana Football Association after former president Kwesi Nyanyakyi was allegedly shown accepting a cash gift of $65,000 (£48,000). Similarly, Kenyan referee Marwa Range had to resign his World Cup post, and was subsequently banned by CAF for all football-related activities, after being allegedly recorded taking bribes.

Range was one of several officials who were handed a range of bans by African football’s governing body. ESPN

Pix: Salisu Yusuf, Super Eagles assistant coach