Off the Pitch

Samson Siasia voices concerns over Mikel Obi’s attitude

Former head coach of Nigeria’s U-23 male national team, Samson Siasia, has spoken out about his reservations regarding the attitude of former Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi.

Siasia revealed his challenges in managing Mikel Obi’s demeanor during their time together, particularly highlighting the player’s stint with the squad alongside former Stoke City midfielder.

The relationship between Siasia and Mikel Obi dates back to 2005 when Siasia led the Flying Eagles to the finals of both the 2005 Under-20 World Cup and the U-20 African Youth Championship. Despite winning the African Youth Championship, they faced defeat in the world final against Argentina with a score of 2–1.

Mikel Obi gained prominence during this period, attracting interest from renowned clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United.

In a conversation with Athlst, Siasia candidly described Mikel as ‘stubborn,’ stating, “Mikel Obi is a little bit out of my league, stubborn, and I cannot tolerate people like that.”

However, Siasia also acknowledged Mikel’s leadership qualities, particularly highlighting his performance during the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the team secured a bronze medal.

“The only commendable thing he did was during the Olympics when he came out and played as a captain despite my warnings. That’s why we managed to achieve what we did,” Siasia remarked.

Siasia’s coaching career faced a significant setback with his suspension, initially a lifetime ban imposed by FIFA over match-fixing allegations. However, following an appeal, the ban was reduced to five years, with its expiration anticipated in August 2024, potentially allowing the former coach to make a return to the sport.

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