By Jacob Ajom
The debate has been on for long and it does appear the end to it is still far. The tussle between club and country, and playersâ€™ loyalty to club over country reverberated Tuesday, January 5, when Chelsea and Nigeria mid-fielder, John Obi Mikel, said on Chelsea TV that playing for oneâ€™s country was a risk.
The enterprising youngster was asked by a young Chelsea fan why African players were not giving in their best in their national team colours as they do for their clubs.
His reply was unequivocal. â€œThis accusation has been on even in the Nigerian media. But what people donâ€™t realise is that when we go to play for the national team we take a great risk because when one gets injured thatâ€™s the end. There is no insurance and players consider it a big risk.â€
But the former Lyn Oslo play-maker was quick to add that in Nigeria things were improving. â€œThe NFF is trying to put things right and we are getting on better now.â€
Speaking on the Africa Cup of Nations beginning this weekend in Angola, Mikel said that with the right support, the Shaibu AmoduÂ squad would do well at the tournament.
â€œEvery player is determined to contribute to the collective success of the team as this will put us in the right stead for the World Cup.â€