The question on everyones’ lips would be, why is she thinking about Mikel Obi. Surely, Mikel Obi’s girlfriend, Olga’s eyes would pop out at the headline. Seriously, this is all about his dwindling career. Mikel was that young lad, a delight of the nation when at the age of 12 he made it as a talented player to the prestigious Pepsi Football Academy.
He dazzled us with skills and humility and in no time, big clubs had to battle for his signature. He was prematurely unveiled by Manchester United before being gazumped by Chelsea. Indeed, It was a war between the English football mighty. Mikel was that superb. Ten years after winning medals with Lionel Messi in the same tournament under different categories, he has not really progressed as Messi has done.
So far as a Chelsea player, he has not done so well for his career but done superbly well for his bank accounts. Truth be told, he has not been productive, his presence has not been felt at club and country. Till date, he is the biggest name and biggest player in the current squad of the Super Eagles. Unfortunately, he is one of the less productive with minimal impact or contribution to the team, I wonder what went wrong.
Jose Mourinho recently showed his confidence in Mikel and insisted he will not be leaving. Great News he is staying back at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, every player wants to play under a great Coach like him. However, he was linked with a move to Fenerbahce and another team in Dubai, so you mean no club in the EPL want to buy Mikel? That’s an indictment of his regression.
As a prospective Super Eagles Captain, his leadership skill leaves a lot to be desired. Another super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu once said in an interview that he was inspired by Mikel Obi. No doubt, Ogu might be one of many others, but how long has he carried on inspiring? Which of the upcoming players want to watch his video to learn, backpass or overlap? Judging by his recent contributions to club and country.
Mikel was suspended in 2007 by Berti Vogts and after apologies he was seen as deemed fit to adorn the Green and white jersey. This same player won the man of the match against Iran at the 2014 FIFA world cup in Brazil. Mikel has won the English Premiership twice, FA Cup four times, UEFA, African Cup of Nations amongst others, but can he be proud of his personal contributions to these medals after his retirement?
Not forgetting, he play different roles for Nigeria and Chelsea, maybe he will be better served by playing for a team that can utilize and use him in a position where he is best at which is attacking midfield. Hanging around at Chelsea is not necessarily good for his own career progression or any positive impact he might make in the Nigerian team.
He seem to have lost his zeal/mojo, maybe because of the financial reward he is priviledged to be making at Chelsea which is synonymous with other players. He needs to rediscover what got him to this stage in the first place.
With the generation of new midfielders joining Chelsea and being one of the oldest Chelsea players, he should be celebrated in the team. Coming home now, Can Oliseh build his midfield around Mikel? Can we say he is the next in line to become the Super Eagles captain?
It seems Chelsea can’t wait to sell him off, even this past premier league season he didn’t appear much. Isn’t he worried himself. He is dispensable to Chelsea and looking like a matter of ‘for now’ and I am truly concerned about where he will end up in August. Mikel should still be on top of his career at age 28. My advise; He should get back his zeal and desire to be the best. It is never too late for him to work harder, the potentials are still there, he can still make more powerful effect in the team.
Nigerians are looking forward to him performing to the best of his abilities which can be better than recent years. Gerrard at age 35 is still doing well, I picture another 10 years of active football career for Mikel if he wants it. He is certainly too skillful to be bench-warming. It is never too late. Mikel Obi should get back in the groove of enjoying his football, start working hard, look back and search for where he has gone wrong and make amends, we miss him.Nigerians missed his on-field skills. Get back to basics. Please come back our dear Mikel Obi.
Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello, Sports for development enthusiast, can be reached @Aderonke