Captain of the Super Eagles Mikel Obi has revealed that coach Gernot Rohr is the man with the magic wand who has turned the team around from a side that was unable to qualify for two Africa Cup of Nations competitions to one that is World Cup-bound in just two years.
Speaking at a media briefing in Uyo on Friday, Mikel claimed that the team has undergone remarkable changes both on and off the pitch under Rohr.
“With due respect to the other coaches who I have had the priviledge of working under, Gernot Rohr has had the most profound impact on the team. He’s brought a new work ethic, discipline and positive energy and a new way of doing things professionally,” Tianjin Teda star Mikel said.
He also claimed that the Super Eagles are capable of springing a surprise at the World Cup even though they are the least-ranked team in their World Cup group.
“I missed the last two friendly games due to visa issues but I’m here now and the preparation is in top gear,” Mikel added.
“We lost against Serbia due to some mistakes but they are not major things that cannot be rectified. We are working on them and I’m sure this team will come out stronger. I’m optimistic about this team and I know we will do well at the World Cup. We just have to be focused and disciplined. We have to go in as underdogs but we must prove that we are as good as any team on the day.”
Mikel was also coy about the prospect of coming back to Europe after his China odyssey, citing football’s unpredictability.
“Talking about coming back to Europe, you never can tell. In football, you never say never. I spent 11 years in England and now I’m enjoying my game in China. The league there is not as slow as you people think but I’m enjoying the game all the same. It it happens, fine. If not, I’m fine in China,” he said.