Connect with us

FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

This Might be Mikel Obi’s Last World Cup, Can Captain Fantastic Rise up to the Billing Against Iceland.

At 31, this may be Mikel Obi’s final chance to represent Nigeria at the World Cup. Can he step up to be a leader to the team?

At 31, this may be Mikel Obi’s final chance to represent Nigeria at the World Cup but things have been far from smooth. The Super Eagles were outclassed by Croatia falling to a 2-0 defeat in the opening game and they will hope to redeem themselves when they face Iceland today.

To do that, Captain Mikel Obi will need to step up and become the leader they need. Nigerians have seen a glimpse of what he can do and was at one time considered the best thing to happen since sliced bread.

Mikel announced himself to the world in 2003 at the under 17 international championships with performances that left everyone spellbound. Strapped in jersey number 10, the young midfielder majestic control, languid but commanding style had Nigerian fans excited.

Media couldn’t find the right adjectives to describe him so they just named him “the new Okocha” despite the different playing styles. His game was not about the mesmeric skilful dribbles and pace but more of planned movement. He knew when to pass, how to unlock difficult defences and was excellent at both short and long well timed pass.

His performances in Norway for Lyn continued to mesmerise many and he soon earned himself a move to Chelsea something many in Nigeria didn’t recommend. At Chelsea, under Jose Mourinho Mikel’s tactics, his development stalled, and he became more defensive.

Despite the change in technical play, memories of the 2003 performances are fresh in the fans memories. The team continues to employ him as a central attacking midfielder and they hope he will re-find his form and inspire the Super eagles like he did in the qualifiers.

The former Chelsea play maker who is currently on books for Chinese super league side Tianjin TEDA was the team’s talismanic leader on and off field in the qualifiers as Nigeria went unbeaten throughout the campaign.

He was their midfield general, setting the rhythm for Nigeria’s attack and proved all the doubters wrong by scoring two goals despite being side-lined by Chelsea’s Antonio Conte at the time.

Yes, Nigeria have already stunned the world with their confident jersey choices but it’s about time they made a statement on the pitch.

After cruising through the qualification rounds’ group of death unbeaten, the Super eagles will hope to make a statement and live up to the billing as an African power house.

Despite having the odds against them, the former Chelsea man insists hope is not lost and the team will negotiate a way past Euro surprise package Iceland.

“We have not given up in spite of the disappointment of that loss (to Croatia).”

“We are training had to  make it out of the group. Hopefully, things work out for us on Friday. Otherwise we have enjoyed Russia so far.” Mikel told reporters.

The team’s most experienced player has gone an extra mile assuring Rohr he’s ready to take on any role if it means the team will win games, a sign that the play maker is willing to do whatever it takes to make what is possibly his last world cup a success.

Their chances of reaching the last 16 hang in balance following their 2-0 defeat to Croatia’s star studded side on Saturday, and they will hope not to slump against Iceland if they are to stand a chance to move on-to the next round.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Translate »