Former Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel, has named the former Super Eagles head coach has the best Super Eagles coach he played under.
Mikel, who was in Nigeria recently for a talent hunt programme through his Back2Base project, spoke on a variety of things, including his time in the national team and Chelsea.
Mikel, in his interview with Premium Times, revealed that the late Keshi made everything perfect and that they shared a special connection.
“For the national team, it's really easy. It is the Big Boss, Stephen Keshi, may his soul rest in peace. I've met people, but that man was special. I can't speak highly of him enough. He was outside and inside the Big Boss. He dealt with our problems and when he spoke, people listened and he didn't have to scream.”
“Everything was just perfect. During the games, he knew what changes to make. Keshi was always there, screaming. He was involved. He knew exactly what he was doing, and we all bought into what he wanted us to do. We all respected him. For me definitely, he and I had a special connection.”
When quizzed on the toughest match in his career,the former Stoke City man stated that it was the Champions League final match against Bayern Munich in 2012
“The toughest game is probably the Champions League final that we won because we played in Bayern stadium. The adrenaline that day was something else. There was shouting, crowds and everything was going on for 120 minutes. You couldn't lose concentration and we knew that was our only chance to win, and it wasn't our strongest team, so we knew after the game that a lot of players would go.”
On a final note when he was asked about when him and Odion Ighalo left the team at a time many did not expect, Mikel responded that it was a mere coincidence.
“It was a coincidence. I've already made up my mind that the AFCON in Egypt was going to be my last with the national team. It's a matter of principle, I don't like to overstay in a place. I feel when it is time, I should give other people their chance to establish themselves because when I was coming into the fray too, the likes of Okocha gave me the opportunity to establish myself.”
“A lot of people told me to still stay and be a mentor to the players and play a few minutes, and be their leader, mentor but I felt I can still do that outside of the camp instead of unnecessary distractions that it may end up being. I have done my best, and it is left to the players to stay focused and get the best from their coaches.” Mikel concluded.
The former Super Eagles captain was in Nigeria recently for a talent hunt programme through his Back2Base project.
This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago