Super Eagles skipper, John Mikel Obi has downplayed all ratings that named him man of the match for his efforts in Nigeria’s goalless draw against Zimbabwe on Saturday, as he chose instead to point in the direction of Samuel Chukwueze and Samuel Kalu for a job well done.
Nigerian fans and pundits alike are unanimous that Mikel was the best player on either side, as he marked his return from a long ‘sabbatical’ of absence since June 2018, with a yeoman’s job in rallying the Eagles’ midfield at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, but the skipper says both Samuels should not be forgotten as well.
Rather than take all the glory for Saturday’s barren draw under horrendous rain in the Delta State capital, Mikel insists the entire Nigerian team did well and praised Gernot Rohr’s array of young players in the squad, especially those he was playing alongside for the first time.
The former Lyn Oslo of Norway, Chelsea of England, Tianjin Teda of China and Middlesbrough of England star, who looks likely to retire from the Eagles after leading them out at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, also hailed Rohr for giving such young talents opportunities in his team.
He reckoned that Nigeria should be able to ruffle some feathers in Egypt with a concise blend of youth and experience in the squad that will be on display at AFCON 2019, where he says the Eagles should not be written off or underrated due to their absences at the last two editions.
Mikel added: ”The coach has invited the players that will do the job for us. It is a very good blend of young and experience.
“I think it is also good for the young players. You know Chukwueze, Kalu, you could see a bit of flashes of talent. They are very good players.
”We will work on when to run with the ball, when not to run, when to pass, but you could see the talent is there for them.
“I think they can do great things in this Nations Cup. We just have to keep talking to them, we the senior players, and the coaches.
“Hopefully we will have a very good plan in the Nations Cup and do great things. The team has done great up till now.
“The team has been fantastic, the boys have worked really hard to get us here and I just come to add a little bit of my experience.
“When I come back I give 110 percent to help the team. Hopefully, we can have a good tournament.”