SUPER Eagles skipper Mikel obi has confirmed that he will captain the team to this summer’s African Cup of Nations in Egypt after holding a meeting with team manager Gernot Rohr in London.
This summer, Egypt will host the African Cup of Nations after Cameroon was stripped of hosting rights due to the fact that some of its facilities were not ready. Nigeria is one of the favourites to win the tournament which will kick-off on June 21 with the final taking place on July 19, along with Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Senegal.
Mikel, 32, who has just finished playing the second half of the 2018/19 season with English Championship side Middlesboro, has not played for the Eagles since the 2018 World Cup in Russia and is expected to retire from international football after the Nations Cup. There had been doubts as to whether he would feature in the tournament but this week, he met with Mr Rohr in London and the two agreed that he should lead the team in Egypt.
Mr Rohr came to London to meet with several of his players, including Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi and Mikel. According to one team official, at the meeting, Mikel, who has 85 caps to his name, agreed that he will lead the Eagles to the Nations Cup.
He added: “Mikel has met with coach Gernot Rohr in England and he has confirmed he will feature at the Nations Cup in Egypt.”
Mikel’s experience and leadership would be invaluable to a squad that includes many players making their debut in this competition after Nigeria missed out on the last two editions. This year’s Nations Cup in Egypt is widely seen as the last hurrah for Mikel, who has served Nigeria diligently over the last 14 years.
Over that period, Mikel has scored six goals since his full international debut in 2005 against Libya. In the Nations Cup, Nigeria has been drawn in Group B for Nations Cup alongside Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi.