By MADUABUCHI KALU
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has given national team and Tianjin TEDA Captain, John Obi Mikel conditions he must fulfill if he desires to return to the national team set-up.
According to Rohr, the former Chelsea of England defensive midfielder must return to fitness and prove that he is ready to compete with the group of younger players in the team for a starting shirt for him to be considered in the Super Eagles at the moment.
“Mikel is still our leader, he is the captain. We don’t have any problem with him. The truth is since after the World Cup, he has not return to full fitness.
“So, if he must return to the squad, he has to return to full fitness but at the moment he has issues with his fitness that I know.
“So, once that has been sorted out by him, the doors are wide open for him to return to the squad and compete with the other players for a starting shirt. Like I said earlier, Mikel is the Captain of the team and that has not changed.
“He is our leader both on and off the pitch, so we don’t have any issues with except his fitness. He is one player who has serviced this country selflessly and I know that he plays with his heart all the time for the country.
“He knows himself better than anyone could imagine. He says his struggling with fitness and that could be seen in his club duties. He was not a regular before the Chinese Super League ended. That is the true position of things.
“I am happy with the performance of the team. They work with one spirit and they want to achieve great things for the country and I like the competition for shirt in the team at the moment because it has made available options for us at the various department of the game. I love the spirit in the team,” Rohr declared.
It is recalled that Mikel has not featured for the three time Africa champions since they crashed out of the 2018 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) at the group stage. He has consistently exempted himself from national team duties and has not played any part in the team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Meanwhile despite his absence, the Super Eagles have gone ahead to qualify for the continental highest football showpiece with a game to spare.
Mikel last week launched his Foundation tagged John Obi Mikel Foundation which will devote it time and resources to discover gifted players and give them the opportunity to realize their dream of becoming one of the best footballers in the world. The talent hunt is tagged “The Next African Football star”