Mikel gets Igbo nickname in Brazil

Mikel Obi Super Eagles of Nigeria

Nigeria midfielder, John Obi Mikel, has been given a nickname by his teammates for his unrivalled leadership qualities at the Rio Olympics.

The Chelsea maestro is now known as ‘Odogwu’, which is an Igbo word for ‘hero’ when loosely translated.

Mikel, 29, captain of Team Nigeria to the quadrennial showpiece, has been a huge motivation to the entire Nigerian delegation and specifically the football contingents.

As skipper of the Dream Team VI, Mikel has proven his leadership skills both on and off the pitch as Samson Siasia’s lads edge closer towards an Olympic gold.

The Chelsea no 12 even went to the extent of spending his personal resources to bail out the team as they continue to encounter financial setbacks, the latest being his benevolence in paying the sum of $4,600 for hotel bills accrued by extra officials that accompanied the team.

And on the pitch, his importance and influence have also gone a long way in helping the team progress to the semi-final.

He started all three of Nigeria’s group games and went a step further to score and assist in the 2-0 quarter-final win over Denmark on Saturday.

“I expected him to impact the team during games only but his impact has been 100% on and off the pitch,” his deputy, Azubuike Okechukwu, said.

“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 will be expected to star again when Nigeria face Germany in the semi-final on Wednesday.