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Playing for the national team is a risk, Mikel

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 players’ 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 one’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. “This accusation has been on even in the Nigerian media. But what people don’t realise is that when we go to play for the national team we take a great risk because when one gets injured that’s the end. There is no insurance and players consider it a big risk.”

But the former Lyn Oslo play-maker was quick to add that in Nigeria things were improving. “The NFF is trying to put things right and we are getting on better now.”

Speaking on the Africa Cup of Nations beginning this weekend in Angola, Mikel said that with the right support, the Shaibu Amodu  squad would do well at the tournament.

“Every 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.”


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