BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA.
Power packed striker, Gbolahan Salami is rueing the absence of midfielder, Mikel Obi from the squad that will face South Africa in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in June. Mikel Obi is ruled out on account of injury for which he had to undergo surgery in London.
Even though the Super Eagles’ skipper has resumed light fitness exercises, it is very doubtful he will be match fit before the match with South Africa in Uyo. It was against South Africa and at the same Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo that Nigeria lost the qualification for the 2015 edition of the competition.
Nigeria again missed out of the 2017 edition and will be attempting to grace the stage again in 2019 after it would have been a six-year absence.
Salami, a 2015 Nigerian league top scorer informed Sports Village Square that the current set of Super Eagles needed an experience player in camp who can motivate the rest. This is where, he informed Sports Village Square, that the absence of Mike Obo would be felt.
Salami, who last featured for Nigeria in a June 13, 2015 Africa Cup qualifying match with Chad in Kaduna, said he was happy with the transformation that Coach Gernot Rohr has done with the squad.
The KuP F.C of Finland striker remarked: “I hail the impact of Gernot Rohr. He has shown he was adequately qualified for the Super Eagles’ job. I think he has initiated more players in the Diaspora to play for their fatherland.
“The team is currently working hard to regain past glory but I still believe the absence of Mikel in the forthcoming game is a setback. Mikel is the most senior and experienced player in the team.
“The players will all be willing to look up to him but I think he is currently nursing an injury and might not be able to join the team. His absence is not a good one for a squad full of many young players willing to make name”, Gbolahan said.