10th May, 2012
Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi is very happy with the exploits of John Mikel Obi in England, where his club, Chelsea won the English F.A. Cup last week at the expense of Liverpool.
Keshi, however told P.M.Sports exclusively in Abuja that nothing has really changed about Mikel’s game, stressing that the Nigerian midfileder is fully back and in top shape. He said the player has been an integral part of his team, having been injured during the course of the season.
“Nothing has changed about Mikel. He plays in the same level and Iam very happy with him for winning the English F.A. Cup and he still has the opportunitty of winning the UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich. Iam happy and like every coach, I love to watch my players doing well for their respective clubs” Keshi said.
Keshi also said that Nigerians by now should get used to Mikel playing the defensive midfield role and stop recalling his performance with the Flying Eagles at the FIFA Youth Championship hosted by Holland in 2005, where he played in the Nigerian team that won a silver medal, before painfully losing the final 2-1 to Argentina. Keshi insisted that Mikel is now a defensive midfielder and that is the role he will play in the Super Eagles.
“Mikel is a defensive midfieder and he has been playing that role for Chelsea for years. That is the role I intend to give him in the Super Eagles. What happened with him in the Flying Eagles was in the past and Nigerians should stop seeing him as an attacker”.
The Nigerian gaffer further informed that Mikel is in his plans for the qualifying games in June and hopes that the player will maintain his top form when he plays for the Super Eagles in subsequent matches.