Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi has handed coach Gernot Rohr a major boost ahead of next month’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against African champions Cameroon.
Mikel, 30, made a long awaited return from injury in his club Tianjin TEDA’s Chinese Super League game against Hebei CFFC on Monday.
Mikel who underwent a hernia surgery which took him out of action for four months started Monday’s game, only his fourth competitive appearance for the club since his January switch from English side Chelsea.
Mikel scored in the TEDA’s 2-0 win over Chongqing Dangdai Lifan on his last appearance for the club on April 2 before he was diagnosed with an unknown injury.
His absence has culminated in his side’s downward slope on the table as the Tianjin based side now lie one place from bottom on the CSL table having won just three of their 19 matches in Mikel’s absence.
Mikel featured for the full 90 minutes in Monday’s game as TEDA went down 2-0 at home to their opponents with Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi scoring both goals for Hebei CFFC.
Mikel’s return to fitness will come as a timely boost for Nigeria’s national team after they were humbled by South Africa in a Nations Cup qualifier in June. Many have asked the coach to bring back the experienced stars in China, an idea Rohr is open to.
Nigeria face Cameroon in Uyo on September 1 in their third match of the group stage of the qualifiers for next summer’s World Cup in Russia.