Tianjin Teda of China midfielder, John Mikel Obi has quickly turned his focus on the restart of qualifiers for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, as he seeks to compensate Nigerian football fans with a ticket to Cameroon 2019.
The Super Eagles’ captain said in the wake of the team’s 2-1 loss to Argentina on Tuesday that he and all the players are sorry for not making it to the round of 16 at Russia 2018, but says they hope to return Nigeria to AFCON, after missing the past two editions.
Despite failing in his efforts to see Nigeria into the round of 16 at Russia 2018, Mikel said he intends to carry on as Eagles’ skipper and stressed that they must quickly turn focus on the AFCON 2019 qualifiers
Having crashed out of the World Cup, Mikel says it is important for the Eagles to turn their attention fully on their impending matches against Seychelles, Libya and South Africa.
The former Lyn Oslo of Norway and Chelsea of England star further praised Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr, for what he called the tactician’s fantastic work since joining the Nigerian team two years ago.
Mikel, who earned his 85th cap in the loss to Argentina on Tuesday, told the media during the post-match press conference that he plans to assess his future, but hailed the current crop of Eagles as the best he has played within recent years.
He said lamely: “I hope I can still be around. This team is a fantastic team. I have enjoyed my time in the national team.
“In all my years with the Eagles, I have never been in a team like this; honestly, this set of players are amazing and always nice to be around with.
“The coach has been great since he came in; we have worked collectively as a team and the team has improved tremendously.
“For the Nations Cup, we will see what happens. We have a team that wants to improve and this is good for Nigerian football.
“I just want to take every year as it comes, then maybe anything can happen from there, but for now, nothing decided.”