24th January, 2019
The Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr, says that the status quo still remained in the national team over the captainship, adding that Mikel Obi still leads the team until he makes a formal request that he wants to leave.
The Franco-German tactician made the comment on the sidelines of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 4 between MFM FC and Rangers International FC of Enugu.
NAN reports that the Super Eagles gaffer was on the stands to watch out for the outstanding players among the NPFL players.
Mikel on the other hand recently penned a new deal with the English Championship side, Middlesborough after he quit Tianjin TEDA in the Chinese Super League.
The former Chelsea star, Mikel, 31, claimed that he wanted to be close to his family living in London, hence his decision to choose the North East Club that currently sits on the fifth position in the Championship.
Rohr said though Mikel had yet to play for the national team since their exit from the World Cup during the group stage, the dependable midfielder not only remained an integral part of his team, but the leader as well.
“We are very happy with the news about Mikel joining Middlesborough because it has been a long time he played last for the team, but he is a player who really wants to play for the team.
“He wishes to return to Europe to be with his family and find a good club which he has done. Right now, he needs more time to be back in the team because we have yet to see him after the World Cup.
“We want him to come back to the national team like other players. If he is playing well with his new team, he stands a chance of coming back to us, but he has not told me he will quit the team.
“He remains the captain of the team till he says otherwise, we will be happy to have him back for his experience,” he said.
On another Nigerian plying his trade in the Chinese Super League, Odion Ighalo, Rohr said he hoped that the goal poacher finds another club in Europe.
“The same issue like Mikel goes to Ighalo, there is now a big winter break in the Chinese league, even if the league is on, I am not sure that he wants to remain there.
“Ighalo wants to come back to Europe, though he still has a contract with his Chinese club. Right now, he wants a club in England or Turkey, I hope he can play again in a good club, just like other players, I want him to be fit.
“He has also contributed well to the national team, we enjoyed his contributions to the team,” he said.