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Mikel Obi Tried To Get Iwobi Dropped During AFCON 2019
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Mikel Obi Tried To Get Iwobi Dropped During AFCON 2019

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

Apparently, former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, had a fallout with manager, Gernot Rohr, because of UK-born Nigerian star, Alex Iwobi.

According to journalist, Osasu Obayiuwana, the former Chelsea man had asked the Super Eagles gaffer to drop Iwobi after Nigeria's first game in Egypt.

Mikel had started that game in the number 10 role but was taken off in the 58th minute with Iwobi who started on the wings drafting into that role.

Mikel wasn't a happy man after the game and asked for Iwobi to be dropped for the next game because he was encroaching on his space on the pitch.

But in the next game, it was the 32-year-old who was dropped and the Arsenal academy graduate started in the hole behind the striker.

Mikel got another chance to impress in the team in Nigeria's final group game but didn't do so and was left out of the rest of Nigeria's games at the tournament.

"After @mikel_john_obi’s top-grade performance with @Boro in the championship, it was thought that he would exhibit the same form during the #AFCON2019. But despite engaging a personal trainer after the season, Mikel’s physical conditioning dropped," Osasu opened his narration of the events.

"This was quite evident in Asaba, during the one-week I spent with the @NGSuperEagles, before they left for Egypt. But he was always going to be a part of the squad because Gernot sees him as integral to it, even when he’s not 100% fit.

"The drop in @mikel_john_obi’s physical conditioning - as seen from the group #AFCON2019 games he played - forced Rohr and the staff to take the decision that he wouldn’t have more than a bit-part role during the tournament.

"And @mikel_john_obi didn’t help himself when he complained about @alexiwobi in Egypt. He felt the @Everton player was cramping his playing space and style, and wanted him dropped. That was something Rohr was never going to accept, which made his selection duties much easier.

"With this in mind, @mikel_john_obi was slightly unsettled and when the issues of unpaid players bonuses came up, its easy to know where his mind was - even if justifiably so. The management of his mood was a tournament issue for the technical staff.

"But that said, Gernot has nothing but praise for @mikel_john_obi: “He served the @NGSuperEagles very well, for many years. It was very important that he finished his career with @Nigeria in a good way. I have nothing but respect for him and how we worked together.”

“Yes, there were some difficult moments with @mikel_john_obi during the tournament. But it’s normal for players and coaches to have these things. That’s why I’m the manager. I have to manage."

Mikel announced his retirement from international football on social media a day after Nigeria beat Tunisia in the third-place match while Iwobi has embraced a more leading role in the Super Eagles team.