Should Mikel Be Dropped From S’Eagles? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Should Mikel Be Dropped From S’Eagles?

Posted: Jun 20, 2015 at 9:18 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Augustine Akhilomen  – Lagos


This is not the best of times for Super Eagles midfielder, John Mikel Obi. The player, who has been a regular in the Super Eagles line-up, was overlooked by Coach Stephen Keshi in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Chad in Kaduna.

This is the first time the player would be dropped in as many years. Though, his commitment to the national team has come under scrutiny several times, the player has always made his way into the national team for the mere fact that he plays for Chelsea.

John Obi Mikel

John Obi Mikel

Even at Chelsea, things are not looking bright for the player, as it seems he is on his way out, as reports have it that he may be heading to Turkey, likely to join Galatasarray.

Is this an indication that the player performance is on the downward trend of the player who has managed just four goals in 64 appearances for the Super Eagles.?

“I don’t have problem with Mikel. I spoke with him before I invited his co players for this game (CHAD). We don’t need him at this moment. In September we might need his services if he is available,” Keshi said when asked why Mikel was overlooked for the Chad game.

It’s not only Mikel that was dropped by Keshi. Efe Ambrose, Elderson Echiejele and Emmanuel Emenike were other regulars that Keshi did not invite.

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations was Mikel’s eye-catching moment where his skills, energy and defensive prowess contributed to the team crowned champions of Africa in 2013 in South Africa. No doubt, the former Lyn Oslo star was just in his best element and couldn’t be ignored.

But of late, Mikel has not only failed to lift his game, but his commitment to the team has been called to question.

Ex international, Henry Nwosu (MON) believes that Mikel has a place in the team despite his poor attitude to national duty.

“I saw Mikel in 2005 during the FIFA World Youth Championship and I said to myself that this is a great talent for Nigeria and another Henry Nwosu. But after that competition, he joined Chelsea and was not the same Mikel I saw in 2005.

“Mikel is the architect of his own problem because he has failed to up his game like every good player does. No doubt, he’s a great player with so much energy and work-rate. However, he hasn’t really shown his true potentials in the colours of the Super Eagles.

“Besides, his level of mobility with the ball hasn’t been impressive and he should learn to move the ball forward and not backward. In fact, that has also added to his poor goal ratio for both club and country, something which I believe can be corrected if he truly wants to be counted among the best players in the world.”

Atlanta Olympic gold medalist, Joseph Dosu, has questioned Mikel Obi’s commitment to national call and pointed out that he does not deserve to be in the Super Eagles midfield.

“It is the best thing that Keshi has done since he started coaching Eagles. Keshi knows why he didn’t invite Mikel. Mikel could never have played for Nigeria when we played. When you talk about midfield, I wonder which position in the midfield Mikel plays in.

“In our days, Mikel would not even be invited. Mikel does not have the quality to play in my midfield. Mikel can’t distribute, entertain or change the direction of the game. I don’t see any reason why he should be playing in our midfield.”

However, is Keshi’s decision to drop Mikel a good one? Will it be idea enough to inject Rabiu Ibrahim or Kelechi Iheanacho into the heart of the midfield in a bid to give the team a new face-lift?

Mikel remains the only player to have maintained a regular shirt in the heart of the Super Eagles midfielder under different coaches.

Former Super Eagles left-full back, Ifeayi Udeze posited that Keshi’s decision to drop Mikel shouldn’t be questioned.

”He’s the Coach, he has his reasons and I don’t know why he didn’t invite Mikel, though I feel Mikel is supposed to be in the team. But I think he has his reasons which are best known to him.