By Tony Ubani
Some Nigerians who have been heaping pressure on Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi to invite Mikel Obi for the must-win Nations cup match against Lone Star of Liberia may be having a change of mind after Mikel’s sloppy performance that saw him give the ball away in the build-up to Juve’s equaliser on Wednesday.
He gave away the ball when Argentina beat Nigeria in an international friendly last year and never gave a chase until Argentina scored. He never scores, never assists and makes mistakes that lead to goal.
Coach Roberto-Di-Matteo collectively criticised his Chelsea players for their carelessness after they were unable to capitalise on Oscar’s two goals to beat Juventus .
And Mikel aware of hisblunder apologised to the team. But some of officials of the Nigeria Football Federation are biting their nails over the midfielder’s mistake.
‘’I know that mistake do happen but Mikel has to work hard. He has to up his game and be more energetic, daring and adventurous like his Ivorian counterpart, Yaya Toure’’, the NFF source said.
Though irritated by his play, the source emphasised that Stephen Keshi has the last say on which player is invited to the national team.
‘’We’ve absolute confidence in Keshi and he is totally in charge’’.
Speaking on the Juve match, Mikel said of his new team-mate Oscar: “He’s going to be a great player for this club, with his talent and ability. Hopefully he can do even more. He can only get better.
”I think his all-round game is very good. He can score goals, he’s very creative, and I think that’s what this club is looking for.”
Oscar was a surprise starter – he had hardly impressed in his three substitute appearances and had appeared to struggle with the physical demands of English football.
Mikel revealed Chelsea’s training sessions had helped toughen up the £25m man. “You don’t want to kick anyone and get anyone injured in training,” he said. “We try to give him a little bit sometimes.”