11 October 2012

Nigeria: Mikel Bubbles Into Camp, Sure of Fitness

Photo: Vanguard
Mikel, Osaze, Ike Uche shortlisted for the Nigeria male Footballer of the Year

Chelsea midfield ace, John Mikel Obi, arrived the Metropolitan camp of the Super Eagles yesterday afternoon, after his protracted battle to get a Ukrainian visa for his side's UEFA Champions League game next week, assuring that he was super fit for the encounter against Liberia. The development had kept Mikel away from the Super Eagles camp since Monday, leading to speculations that the player might be in Nigeria and was avoiding the national team's camp.

That was finally put to rest when Mikel breezed into camp yesterday at lunch time. Head Coach Stephen Keshi said he was not sure that the Chelsea midfielder even got the Ukrainian visa and may have forced the protocol team at Chelsea to release his passport for the Nigeria versus Liberia game on Saturday.

"We must reduce the level of speculation on our top players as that could dampen their spirit and affect performance on the pitch. Mikel is here now and ready to play on Saturday and if we found him suitable, he would be played because he has shown enough national commitment", Keshi said.

Media Officer, Ben Alaiya said Keshi also called on Nigerians to keep praying for the team, as the team is thinking of the Nigerian people and President Goodluck Jonathan, who personally visited the team during its training session for the first leg encounter in Monrovia.

"I will not be here talking to you if I think the job of qualifying Nigeria for the Nations Cup is too big for me but I need the support of all Nigerians including critics of the team and together we can take the national team to greater heights", Keshi said during a media interaction in Calabar yesterday.

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