OKOCHA: EAGLES NEED MIKEL TO GET BETTER!
Posted: Jul 11, 2012
Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha has described Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi as a very important player that will add good quality to the current national team no matter what anyone is thinking about him.
Mikel and few other established Nigerian players were not given a look-in by gaffer,Stephen Keshi last month when the Eagles played three crucial 2013 Africa Nations Cup and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers fuelling speculations that the players may never play for the national team again under current boss.
With the final round of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier set to be played between September and October and with the World Cup qualifiers also looming,Okocha believes the team and the coach needs Mikel no more than ever,adding bringinig the Chelsea star in now will greatly improve the squad based on his pedigree.
“The team has been doing well in the absence of some key players, but we are all looking at the ways by which they can improve in every game they play, and bringing in someone like Mikel will definitely be a big advantage for us. The truth is no matter what anyone is thinking about him (Mikel), he is playing regularly in a very big team like Chelsea and therefore he should be an important player for us at the national team level,” he reasoned.
The former Bolton Wanderers skipper also praised Keshi for his efforts towards producing a solid national team that will meet the expectations of soccer-loving Nigerians after the recent slump that culminated in Nigeria not making it to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, adding that the inclusion of more home-based players was a step in the direction.
“ I followed their recent games,especially the last two games and I think the inclusion of more home-based players was in order in the re-building process because no matter how one might look at it, we all played here at home before moving abroad as professionals. But for me, I think the coach should always select players based on their form no matter where they play their club football,” he posited.
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