Poland vs Nigeria: Onazi confident without Mikel, Rohr worried

Super Eagles midfielder and stand-in captain, Ogenyi Onazi believes the team will be stable even with the absence of Mikel Mikel.

Mikel, the most experienced and exposed in the team, will miss the match due to issues concerning his work permit in China. But in his absence Onazi told a world media conference in Poland on Thursday that the rest of the squad would carry on well without the former Chelsea star.

Onazi said, “Yes, we are doing well and everyone is happy to be back again to represent our dear country and the spirit here is very high. The training has been going on well and come Friday night we will be ready to take to the pitch.

“We all know our captain will be missing from the game, but I’m confident the rest of us here can hold our own and give Poland a good game. Hopefully, we will win for him.”

The Trabzonspor midfielder Onazi has been made substantive captain of the Super Eagles for the friendly against Poland.

Speaking at the same pre-match press conference, Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr admitted that the team always struggle to win matches anytime his captain Mikel was not available for selection.

The German’s only defeat since his appointment as Nigeria coach was against South Africa last June in a 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers which Mikel did not play.

Mikel has been excused from Friday’s clash at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw because he is trying to renew his Chinese work permit.

Rohr said, “In the qualifications for the Russian World Cup and AFCON only once we could not use the services of our captain and this one single match we lost. It was a meeting with South Africa.

“John Obi is our leader, this team needs characters like him and his absence is certainly noticeable, but it’s a good opportunity for others to show off.

“We have the second, third and fourth captains. I hope that now they will take on the burden of the game.”

The match is billed for 8.30pm. Nigeria and Poland are on the same time zone.