Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has said he will build his team around captain Mikel Obi against the Desert Warriors of Algeria in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Uyo on Saturday.
Mikel’s fitness has been questioned after he’s been left out of Chelsea’s first team this season by manager Antonio Conte, but Rohr insisted that the player was in a good shape and fit for the match.
The German said Mikel’s problem at Chelsea began after he represented Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where Nigeria won a bronze medal.
The former Gabon manager said, “Mikel is currently being punished at Chelsea because of his outing for the Nigerian U-23 team at the last Olympics in Brazil.
“He has not featured under the new coach, Conte, since then. But I will still build the team playing against Algeria around him because he is in a good shape and fit for the match.
“Besides, Mikel is committed to the national team and he is a source of motivation to the other players.”
He says although the Algerians have a good team, the Eagles are focused on winning the encounter.
Mikel said he would not allow his current situation at Chelsea to affect his performance in the match, adding that a win would boost the team’s chances of getting the sole ticket from the group.
Although there have been cases of injuries in the team, Mikel said the development would not affect them.
Asked whether he would still remain at Chelsea if his current situation persists, Mikel said everything would depend on what happens between now and January when he would take a decision.