Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 4:48 AM on Wednesday 30 July

/ Front page / Sport

Obi to play crucial role for Nigeria

Afp
Sunday, May 18, 2014

LAGOS - Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi, making his debut at the World Cup finals, will be crucial in determining how far Nigeria go in Brazil.

According to former Nigerian coach Samson Siasia, Mikel and forwards Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike will be the central players for the African champions.

"Mikel will be key for Nigeria, having played at the highest level for a top club like Chelsea for many years. Such an experience should count for something," he said.

But Siasia, who featured for Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup, said he was concerned that the 27-year-old Mikel and some of the Super Eagles' top stars had not been first-team regulars at their clubs.

"The biggest problem (for the team) is that most of the players did not play regularly for their various clubs and this cannot be good for the team.

"What you can do when the players come together for the training camp for the World Cup would be mostly tactical and so I don't know how (coach Stephen) Keshi will go around this problem."

Former Nigerian striker Benedict Akwuegbu also said he expected Mikel to play a big role and described him as "the engine room of the Eagles' midfield".

Mikel, who missed the last World Cup finals because of a knee injury, is a holding midfielder at the English Premier League side but is given a freer, more attacking role for his country as Lazio youngster Ogenyi Onazi does all the grafting alongside him.

He was voted the second-best player at the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup behind Lionel Messi.


Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Hero's tale
  2. Help for illegal Fijians
  3. Aviation deal fallout
  4. Police nab suspects
  5. Spray claim
  6. Making a difference
  7. Makeshift market fails to impress
  8. Malani sets new national time in breaststroke event
  9. Muslims celebrate
  10. Follow the guidelines

Top Stories this Week

  1. No 'free education', says party Wednesday (23 Jul)
  2. Fijian woman jailed for stealing millions in NZ Sunday (27 Jul)
  3. Illegal Fijians in Tonga Friday (25 Jul)
  4. 10 degrees lowest yet Monday (28 Jul)
  5. Warning for teachers Thursday (24 Jul)
  6. Hero's tale Tuesday (29 Jul)
  7. New United formation Monday (28 Jul)
  8. $70m plan Wednesday (23 Jul)
  9. Groenewald: Brutality video under investigation Thursday (24 Jul)
  10. Tafunai confident Friday (25 Jul)