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Mikel: I’ll Sacrifice, Play Defensive Midfield For Super Eagles Success

Mikel: I’ll Sacrifice, Play Defensive Midfield For Super Eagles Success

Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi has promised to do whatever it takes to ensure the team advance into the latter stages of the Russia 2018 World Cup, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.

The Eagles are currently bottom of their group and must beat Iceland on Friday to keep hopes alive.

The Nigerian side lost their opening match 2-0 to Croatia while debutants Iceland held group favourites Argentina to a 1-1 draw.

Mikel, playing in an advanced midfield role, was one of the Super Eagles’ worst performers on Saturday, with many fans calling for him to be subsequently dropped or given a withdrawn role.

Even former Nigeria captain Austin Jay Jay Okocha advised coach Gernot Rohr to either drop Mikel or make him play deeper.

When asked about playing in defensive midfield on Wednesday, Mikel said: “If I have to sacrifice for this team to progress, I will.

“If I have to sacrifice a position, go play wherever, I will do that for this team to win games.”

Mikel played as a defensive midfielder for most of his successful 11-year stay at Chelsea but has often been deployed further upfield for the national team.

Mikel’s former coach at Chelsea Jose Mourinho has also advised that the Nigeria captain should be a ‘number 6’, a defensive midfielder.

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  • Mykel 3 years ago

    Nice one Mikel, u are a good player just that u are a bit slower now due to age, nonetheless, u will still play very well as dm because we know ur worth.

    • Isaac 3 years ago

      This “mikel is too slow” is becoming exaggerated. The Mikel I have been seeing in games especially against Croatia is not slow. Go and re-watch him against Croatia without a preconceived notion about him and see how fast he was

  • Bebeto 3 years ago

    Gud guy u know ur rıght tnks mıkel.

  • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

    That’s good Mikel. It shows that the team is aiming for a common goal. Screen the defense with Ndidi and let Iwobi be the number 10. I’m only concern that Etebo may be the odd man out.

    • I’ll rather play Etebo instead og ndidi or mikel, if i have one choice … Ndidi is a bit match rusty, mikel is tired and seems to be taking it easy to conserve energy… body na wood, he’s been play for close to 15 years at professional level, remember he was in sweden or norway or so in 2004 and move to england in 2005, that is some 14 years ago, and he was nigeria professional league player (or was it division 1, they were calling it then. Etebo just have to play, form should determine who should play between mikel and ndidi…. don’t forget ogu and joel are also rearing to go… Ogu may also come in. We all know joel was good, but, he didn’t impress at all during the friendlies, so, we can risk put him, it is difficult to trust Rohr’s judgement these day, after feeding shehu ahead of ebuchi and it finally affected the team, and not cautioning moses to stop these easy falls that became detrimental to overall team progress

  • Etebo, out? At the olympics siasia used him out wide from the left with him cutting inside and even scoring goals. Mikel should be bench for our next game. we need speed.

    • Isaac 3 years ago

      You guys have just concluded in your minds that Mikel is slow without watching him closely in recent games to validate your claims.

  • Djeniko 3 years ago

    Why did you not thought of this in the first place and tell the coach that playing as defensive midfielder will pay the team better as you have perfected it with Chelsea and still continuing with your present Chinese club. Now we are in a very bad situation. We promised to sink and swim with you but you guys need to put your personal aggrandizement aside and sacrifice. It is appreciated if you promised to do anything even if it requires you manning the goalpost or as a defensive midfielder.

  • Edoman 3 years ago

    For Mikel to admit that he made sacrifice for him to play his natural wing in a team he is the Captain of, tell a lot of his mentality. Abet your mentor who knows you better than you know yourself said that #6 is where you are more effective than #10 . How about that? Common man, lead by example. You are the Captain.

  • Hautside 3 years ago

    God bless you Mikel. You are a true leader and a captain. GR, I don’t know what you have to do or how you will do it,Etebo and Ndidi shouldn’t be benched o! Lai lai

  • Sacrifice, now that is an interesting concept.

    I thought there is an expectation on players to play where the Coach sees fit.

    If the coach asks Mikel to play in defence, that is the coach’s perogative.

    Mikel will be merely doing is job by playing as he is told.

    Where does ‘sacrifice’ come to it?

    Is a particular position his birth right?

    • Haymaker 3 years ago

      Lol. My brother me sef dey wonder o. Rohr has overrespected Mikel. Mikel now feels untouchable. Sacrifice my foot!

      • @Haymaker
        I’m amazed at the mentality of our players. They often forget that soccer is a team game. If they want to dictate terms for themselves, they should have taken individual sports like boxing, wrestling etc. I’m sorry to be critical of Mikel’s idea of ‘sacrifice’, which I don’t accept. He has to shape up as a leader: physically, emotionally and strategically.

  • Kendo 3 years ago

    We are gradually entering a new era of the Super Eagles. Nigerians are quick to criticise Mikel playing No 10 forgetting that this role he played worked for us during the world cup qualifiers. 
    The world cup is a different level and stage,Mikel can no longer play No 10 at that top level because he is aging.
    I think with this Mikel statement we have seen the last of him playing No 10.He should play DM role with Ndidi.
    I suggest that Iwobi be brought to the No 10 position while Etebo be moved to the left side of the Midfield.

  • mbawuan emmanuel 3 years ago

    whatever happens pray for them to get the needed three point

  • Mourinho was the man that almost destroyed Mikel’s talent. Mikel was a natural playmaker in his sub 20 year days and the coaches of Nigeria’s national team from Siasa always deployed him as a number 10 to good effect and result. Playing 6 for Chelsea and 10 for Nigeria are different things altogether, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane plays as wingers for Liverpool but when they dorn their country’s colours, they play in the number 10 position, many players across the world are used in the same fashion. There were moments in the playing days of Maradona where he operated from the defence leaving his natural 10 position for someone else, this didn’t mean that he relinquished his position or shirt for someone else; it was mere change of strategy which can be adopted by the Nigerian National Team if thier formation isn’t effective.

  • Johnson Stevens 3 years ago

    Mikel,you have demonstrated your patriotism and nationalistic spirit… Nigeria will surely beat Iceland and go further

  • Imagine mikel sacrifacing,abeg let him be benched ndidi and etebo are way too better than him.

  • Haymaker 3 years ago

    Mikel is useless in that number 10 position. He’s a liability to the team as there’s no place for him in the entire team. He shouldn’t have been part of the 23. Onazi rightly called him out for being lazy. You never see him marking with zeal; he feels he’s Nigeria’s Ronaldo so he just strolls around casually. I’d pick the underperforming Onazi and Joel Obi before him because those two are not wanting in terms of effort. The last thing you need in a team is someone who feels he’s too big to hustle for the team. Mikel couldn’t try all this nonsense with the likes of Keshi, Siasia, Amodu, Oliseh, Mourinho and other past Chelsea coaches, but Rohr has shown how clueless he is by his unreasonable worship of Mikel.

    • Haymaker, good observation but as much as I agree with you as regards to Mikel’s natural role as a defensive midfielder. Under the tutelage of the coaches you mentioned, Mikel played as the attacking midfielder and his workrate under those coaches was no different from what that of today. Remember it was with keshi that 9ja won the AFCON and Sia1 he won the Olympic bronze both as an AM if Am not mistaken. Am not a huge fan of Mikel’s but to be honest he works hard for the team. He is often the one who initiates the pressing of the opposing defense but often times the other guys in the midfield instead of them pushing up to continue the press they stay behind, u will also sometimes see his frustration in his body language. So when sometimes you see him strolling as u call it, to me it’s just bcos he has been pressing and exerting lots of energy coupled with the fact that age is also telling on him as you can’t cheat nature. U saw how he chases down modric and retrieved the ball off him close to the corner flank b4 delivering a cross. Just my own observation though, most things in life are relative, the way you may see something might not be the way i see it. No disrespect to your football acumen. Much love.

      God bless 9ja and its people

  • Sorry Mikel but your best position is coming from the bench after victory has been confirmed.
    We love you and appreciate your contributions to the team in the past.

  • Ikakke Ekaiko 3 years ago

    I really support the idea of sport pundit calling on the eagles captain mikel obi to play a deeper role…..if he had done that the crots wont have had mastery of the ball the way they did…

    For me mikel 4 Ndidi 10 Etebo 8….
    Could make out something for super eagles!

  • Some Nigerians just hated the most decorated Nigerian player ever,na juju ehn get for the play for all the coaches de win cups and medals.
    Bad belly people who are jealous of my Mikel. Go watch the game again and see his performance.He dealt with Nigerians best player Lucas. He played his best.what did Iwobi do that day,just panicking and over anxiety took over him.Mikel sacrifice Chelsea to play Olympics and he was dropped by that evil coach. Mikel don’t worry play where ever the coach places you even if na goal keeper.I love you so much.

  • jamie 3 years ago

    Pls just do anything u can,for super eagle to win even if u disagree that u were a defensive midfield but never forget to attack when neccesary…Biko..

  • Mikel should play defensive midfield . He should be on the team. I suggest we go for 2 strikers this time.