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Lack of discipline has cost Nigeria the World Cup – Mikel

The Super Eagles captain has claimed Nigeria would have won the World Cup if not for indiscipline and lack of organisation.

Speaking to Guardian, the former Chelsea man explained how indiscipline has been a cancer in the National team for years.

Though he was ruled out of the 2010 World Cup due to injury, Mikel revealed indiscipline exhibited by the players that represented the country at the World Cup almost led to Goodluck Jonathan, the then President of Nigeria suspending the National team for two years.

“There were massive problems in the camp and that’s why the president got upset,” Mikel told Guardian.

“He {Goodluck Jonathan} said: ‘Until you guys fix yourselves up, that’s it. No more.’ The public were upset but they were in support of it because they also wanted whatever was going on to stop. We couldn’t keep going to tournaments and making a mockery of ourselves.”

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Four years later in Brazil, the story was not much different as to what happened in South Africa.

Making it pass the group stage behind Argentina, the Super Eagles were knocked out by France in the Round 16.

Prior to the game, reports had it that the players refused to train and threatened to boycott the Round 16 tie game against France over payment dispute between the Nigeria Football Federation and the players.

He explained, “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.

“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.”

Mikel, who is the longest serving member of the national tea, and who has been saddled with the responsibility of leading Nigeria to her sixth World Cup, claimed that tides have changed under Gernot Rohr – “saying I haven’t seen this discipline before.”

The former Chelsea man said players were united and himself and the coach had warned anyone who is not ready to play as a team to leave the camp. 

 “The coach and myself, as captain, have tried to make these young players realise that we are a team, not individuals. 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.

“I have been in the national team since 2005 and I haven’t seen this discipline before.

“It is meetings, being on time, the training. 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,” Mikel added.

Nigeria will kick start there World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 before locking horns later on with Iceland and Argentina respectively




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