Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel continues to receive more accolades for his contributions both on and off the pitch as the Dream Team continues to soar at the Olympic Games.
The Chelsea midfielder has been immense for the team both on and off the pitch, as he continues to play a fatherly role to his teammates, most of whom look up to him as an idol, a role model or a mentor.
The latest to sing the praises of the 29-year old is vice-captain Okechukwu Azubuike, who admits he only initially expected Mikel to have an impact on the pitch.
“I expected him to impact the team during games only but his impact has been 100% on and off the pitch,” an impressed Azubuike told fcnaija.com exclusively.
And when asked how much confidence Mikel’s inclusion has given the players, the 19-year old Azubuike didn’t mince words.
He said: “A lot, he has been talking to everyone on and off the pitch, he’s been a great leader speaking positive words and also encouraging us during games.”
Mikel has been credited with spending personal resources when the team faced serious money challenges during their training camp in the United States.
Also in Brazil, he was responsible for paying hotel bills running in excess of $4,000 just before they travelled to Salvador for the quarterfinal match against Denmark.
He scored the first and created the second as Nigeria beat the Danes 2-0 to progress to the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Azubuike, who has also been very impressive for the Dream Team, will miss the semifinal clash due to the yellow card he received against Denmark.