Tianjin Teda of China midfielder, John Mikel Obi has restated his total commitment to the Super Eagles, as he says his withdrawal from next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles does not mean his loyalty to the team is diminishing.
Speculation is already rising over Mikel’s future in the Eagles, due to his age and recent battles with injuries, but the former Chelsea star says he is not thinking of retiring from the Nigerian national side just yet.
Nigerian football fans have been quite apprehensive of how the Eagles will cope away to Seychelles in Mikel’s absence, as the team lost their first match of the qualifiers, against South Africa, without him.
He was also instrumental to Nigeria’s triumph at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa and did relatively well in marshalling the Eagles during the recent World Cup in Russia.
However, Mikel recently returned from a knee injury, which kept him out of five matches with his club, hence his explanation that he had to pull out of the trip to Seychelles due to precautionary reasons.
With the game against Seychelles set to be played on synthetic turf on September 7, Mikel says it would be better for him to stay away, rather than get a relapse of the injury.
Mikel also disclosed that he has spoken to the Nigerian team’s gaffer, Gernot Rohr about his situation and stressed that he remains committed to the squad.
The Eagles captain promised that he will return in subsequent games, as he bids to help the country return to the continental football showpiece and possibly win it in Cameroon next year.
Mikel affirmed: “I’m still very much available to the team. We have a task ahead of us, which is to deliver the Nations Cup ticket and I’m confident the guys will get the job done in Seychelles.
“I spoke with the coach already and we had some agreements; as you know, I just came back from a slight knee injury which kept me out for about a month, so we felt there was a need to properly allow me to recover fully.”