Mikel Obi passed Kanu Nwankwo in the number of international caps with the Super Eagles, climbing to third in the list after playing one game more than the latter.
On Saturday, Mikel made his 87th cap for Nigeria in the friendly against Zimbabwe at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
He returned as captain of the team after a leave of absence since Nigeria’s World Cup campaign in Russia. Mikel missed 7 matches since then including all the 2019 AFCON qualifiers and a high profile friendly against Egypt.
Had he made himself available for selection, the 32-year-old midfielder would have seen his caps reach 94; just 7 short of the all-time record jointly held by Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo.
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Alongside Mikel, Ahmed Musa (81) and Elderson Echiejile (62) are the only active players in the top 10 most capped Nigerian players.
… Expects Chukwueze, Kalu to thrill at AFCON 2019 :
Chelsea hero John Obi Mikel has named two talented players in the Super Eagles squad who impressed him in the goalless draw against Zimbabwe on Saturday.
The Nigeria captain is tipping Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze and Bordeaux’s Samuel Kalu to have a successful Africa Cup of Nations but admitted that they are not yet the finished product.
‘’The coach has invited the players that will do the job for us. It is a very good blend of youth and experience. Like the coach said, we needed a little bit of experience – Shehu and Ighalo were not on the pitch,’’ Mikel said at the post-match press conference.
‘I think it is also good for the young players to play this game, you know Chukwueze, Kalu, you could see a bit of flashes of talent. They are very good players.
‘’I think we will work on when to run with the ball, when not to run, when to pass, but you could see the talent is there for them. I think they can do great things in this Nations Cup.