On Sunday morning in the chilly weather of Faro, Portugal, which was running at 10 degrees celcius, John Mikel Obi, was one of the first players to step out for the morning training and the moment he entered the football pitch of the Browns Sports and Leisure Club, he went around exchanging pleasantries.
When it was the turn of the Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, to shake his hands, the first thing after the happy New Year greeting, was what is this talk about your fitness level and readiness for the Nations Cup?. Mikel threw a bewitching smile and said "Bros, I'm okay."
Team Secretary Dayo Enebi Achor and Chief Security Officer, ACP Gideon Akinsola, were watching the unfolding drama.
"So what do you want us to tell Nigerians, since many believed you were not listed for the FA Cup game on Saturday because you were still nursing an injury?"
"Noooo, I had a knock two weeks ago and was told to rest for sometime, but now am fit and I actually started training two days ago with the Chelsea first team. So there is no fears about any injury. I'm ready for the Nations Cup."
With that he dashed to join his mates in knocking the ball around before coach Stephen Keshi gives his familiar howl of: "Hey guys bring it in", to signal the start of training