After the unsuccessful finish to the World Cup, most of the Super Eagles returned to their regular club and international duties. Some of them decided to quit international football, like Victor Moses from Chelsea, who named concentrating on his club career as one of the main reasons for quitting.
Another player, who hasn’t been playing for Nigeria since the World Cup is John Obi Mikel, the Tianjin TEDA player and Super Eagles captain. At first, it was unclear why Obi Mikel wasn’t part of the squads who played against the Seychelles and Liberia, the official line being that he was taking a break from playing for Nigeria due to his injury which sidelined him for playing for his home club as well.
But, for the next two rounds, ahead of the double-header against Libya, the Captain was once again missing from the squad list. This time, Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr had to reveal that the real reason for Obi Mikel not joining the squad was that he was taking some time away from international football and that he wasn’t sure when and if he would come back.
Since then, as he was still recovering from injury, his Chinese team Tianjin TEDA has managed to avoid relegation and Mikel has travelled to Nigeria with his family during the off-season break. He’s been talking to the media about his future, club wise and as the Super Eagles captain.
The main problem with Mikel playing for Nigeria was the distance he had to travel to play for the Eagles, which takes a lot of him every time he was on the road. This has had a negative effect on his injuries and recovery time as well. His two daughters are attending school in the UK and he wants to be closer to them which is why he hopes he will sign for a European team soon.
Even though he is tied with the Chinese side for one more year, unofficially he would be allowed to leave if an offer came from Europe. It seems like unless Mikel moves closer to Nigeria, he would quit international football altogether. He is hoping that everything will turn out positively for him and that he would be able to help his nation in the 2019 AFCON in Cameroon.
His teammates have managed to qualify for the big tournament without him and Ahmed Musa has done well replacing him as captain. However, they are all hoping, along with Gernot Rohr, that John Obi Mikel will join them in preparations for Cameroon next year.