Coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr has made a passionate appeal to team captain John Mikel Obi not to end his international career just yet but to help the team reach the next AFCON in 2019 which is now the target after the elimination from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Mikel had said he was considering retiring from the team after 12 years although he’s not reached a definite conclusion over the issue but Rohr claims the influence of the player on his teammates is one of the reasons why he’s enjoyed working with the Super Eagles in his two years in charge.
“This group (of players) is very disciplined. We never have any problems and I have our captain to thank for that. He has made it easy for me to coach this team and I hope he stays on with us into the AFCON,” the German told a press conference on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Russia moments after the Super Eagles were eliminated from the World Cup.
Rohr also said with the team’s ouster, the next target will be the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifiers which resumes in September.
He said: “We have the AFCON to start preparing for and I hope that we’ll do very well in this competition. Nigeria must not only qualify, we must also do very well in Cameroon.”
Nigeria have missed the last two editions of AFCON having failed to qualify since winning the 2013 edition in South Africa.
The Super Eagles will face Seychelles on September 7 before playing Libya at home on October 10. The return leg is three days later on the 13th. The last game for the year will be away to South Africa on November 6th before the qualifiers go on recess till march 2019.
Nigeria are currently third in Group E after a Matchday 1 2-0 home loss to South Africa.