Middlesbrough of England midfielder, John Mikel Obi has received a fresh line of accolades from Nigeria’s national team coach, Gernot Rohr, who says the Super Eagles’ captain is a very important member of the squad.
Speaking against the backdrop of critical comments trailing Mikel’s inclusion in Nigeria’s provisional list to this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, despite not playing a single match of the qualifiers, Rohr said the player’s experience will be needed at Egypt 2019.
The Franco-German gaffer added that, considering the Nigerian squad is made up of youngsters, many of who will be at the continental soccer showpiece for the first time ever, Mikel will play a key role in motivating the lads.
The former Gabon, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic handler added that there is the need for the Eagles to make up for failing to qualify for AFCON 2015 and 2017, despite winning the 2013 edition in South Africa, after missing out on the 2012 edition in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea.
He is, therefore, of a strong view that the Eagles will need the experience and leadership of the 32-year-old former Chelsea midfielder, who has 85 caps and six goals to his name, since getting his international debut in 2005.
AFCON 2019 will be Mikel’s fifth outing at the competition he won in 2013 and was part of the Nigerian teams that finished third in 2006 and 2010, such that Rohr believes his value to the current squad cannot be overstated.
“We have a few very experienced players like our captain, John Obi Mikel. He is one of our most important leaders,” said Rohr.