Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi, has described the days leading to Nigeria’s exit from the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the campaign as “a disaster”.
Nigeria was knocked out of the tournament in the round of 16, losing 2-0 to France, but the Eagles, who had won the African Nations Cup just a year before, imploded before the defeat to Les Bleus at the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília.
Recalling the tortuous journey in Brazil, Mikel painted the picture of a fight club, because there was little discpline among the players; “There was no good feeling, no good vibe.”
“There were a lot of problems in the camp which a lot of people didn’t see, the media didn’t see – we kind of hid it under the table,” Mikel says. “The relationships between the players were not good and there was no discipline. There was no good feeling, no good vibe.
“It almost got to people being pinned up against dressing-room walls, although not quite. It was confrontation and arguments. Players wanted to do their own thing and they didn’t think about the team,” He explained to David Hytner [The Guardian].
The Nigerian team to the 20th FIFA World Cup was managed by former national team captain, Stephen Keshi (now late) and it was the first time in two editions since Nigeria advanced beyond the group stage.
But, comparing the group he’s playing with Today en route Russia Mikel said “I have been in the national team since 2005 and I haven’t seen this discipline before.
“The coach and myself, as captain, have tried to make these young players realise that we are a team, not individuals,” Mikel says.
“If you don’t want to play together, you are welcome to leave. It’s amazing now to go to camp. You can feel the good feelings. Sometimes a player has the hump because he knows he is not going to make the team and, before in the national team, he just strolls around. Now, you have to train properly. If you don’t, you are leaving the camp. The coach has changed the whole mentality.”
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