YESSENTUKI, RUSSIA - JUNE 12: Mikel John Obi of Nigeria poses for a portrait during the official FIFA World Cup 2018 portrait session on June 12, 2018 in Yessentuki, Russia. (Photo by Dan Mullan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)


*Hails Eagles’ captain’s mental strength

Super Eagles’ Head Coach Gernot Rohr has expressed his surprise with the revelation that Captain John Obi Mikel played with a heavy heart after learning of his father’s kidnap before the game against Argentina, describing him as a true leader and champion of the national team, reports.

The Franco-German tactician made this assertion to KweseESPN, saying he still remains in shock with the news but appreciates the fact that the player handled it with the highest level of professionalism and mental strength.

“I was very surprised to hear this. I didn’t know about it because he didn’t tell me, but it shows that he has the good mental strength to be able to play in that situation. He is a real leader,” Rohr said.

But Rohr said that even if he had known, he would have left the decision about playing to Mikel.

“However, if I had known about it, I would let him decide. No pressure. I have full confidence in him to make the best decision for himself, his family and his country. It is shocking that such a thing happens to anybody and to somebody who represents his country,” Rohr added.

This was the second time that Mikel’s father had been kidnapped in Nigeria, with the first happening in 2011 when he was held captive for 10 days before being released.