Mikel: AFCON 2019 Could Be My Last With the Super Eagles

Published on: 14 June 2019

Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi has revealed that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt could be his last with the team, reports Completesports.com.

Mikel failed to feature in any of the side’s AFCON 2019 qualifying fixtures but was recalled to the team for the competition by head coach of the side Gernot Rohr.

He was named man of the match in the Super Eagles 0-0 friendly draw against the Warriors of Zimbabwe last Saturday.

The 31-year-old who has been constant fixture in the Super Eagles since making his debut in a friendly game against Libya in 2005 is set to play in his fourth AFCON in Egypt.

When quizzed about his international future, Mikel said that he is uncertain if he will be available for selection for their 2021 edition in Cameroon.

“I do not know but I think it may be (my last Afcon). I like to go every year and see how I feel,” Mikel stated in a video interview on the official Twitter handle of the Nigeria Football Federation

“Obviously the young players are coming, I think before the next one comes around again I will be 34 or so.

“I think this will probably be my last Afcon but I’m not 100 percent sure yet. I have given so much to this nation and at some point, you have to let go. I don’t want to overstay my welcome.

“I will leave when I feel the time is right. Let’s hope we can make it count.”

Mikel was part of the Nigeria team that won the Africa Cup of Nations title six years ago but he still desires to win more silverware with the Super Eagles.

“I’m always hungry to win if I didn’t want to win then I would not be here. I don’t just want to come in and play the Nations Cup. I have played so many games and there is no point that I’m just coming to play. I’ve come to win,” he continued.

“And that’s the same mentality I want to put in the younger ones to win. I know for some of them, it is just their first time and they just want to play but they need to have the mentality of going to win.

“That is the mentality that I have and hopefully, I can translate this from my performance on the pitch and outside the pitch when talking to them. Hopefully, we can do great things in Egypt.”

Mikel has enjoyed an illustrious football career with several awards including the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League, two Premier League titles and three FA Cups among other trophies.

When he finally decides to hang his boots, the 32-year-old revealed that he will not be taking up an immediate role in football.

“Life after football? I don’t know if I will still be in the game, I have a lot of things going on,” he said.

“I like to do business, I’m a business guy so I don’t know if I will have time to be in the game. I love the game but who knows, maybe one day, I might come back to the game but at this point, after football, I am not thinking about being in the game.”

The Super Eagles will face Burundi in their opening game at AFCON 2019 on Saturday, June 22 at the Alexandria Stadium.