- …advise him to look for club where he would be playing regularly
Football followers have advised Super Eagles’ skipper, John Mikel Obi, to quit Chelsea Football Club now and look for another club where he would be playing regularly.
Mikel has been passing through turbulent waters at the Stamford Bridge since the club hired a new coach, Antonio Conte, who did not believe in the Nigerian and has vowed to keep him off his programmes for the club throughout this season.
The former Nigeria’s Under-20 player has been warming Chelsea’s bench since the beginning of the season, despite putting up impressive showings for his country at the last Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, where he won a bronze medal and also for the senior national team, the Super Eagles, in the World Cup qualifying series.
Mikel is so inspirational, that he was nominated by the Confederation of Africa Football, as one of the contestants for the Glo-CAF Footballer of the Year Awards, billed for early next year. But Conte has never hidden his hate for Mikel, when he told Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr, of his intention to free Mikel in the January transfer market to move to another club, when the Franco-German visited the club recently to seek for his release.
Mikel’s commitment to country never moved Conte, as he has made up his mind to let go of the Nigerian.
Concerned about Mikel’s predicament, former international, Friday Ekpo, urged the player to leave the club and look for where he would be more valued and honoured.
“First and foremost, I want to appreciate God for the career of this player. God has been so good to him, but he needs to forge ahead in his career. If the coach insisted that Mikel is no longer part of his programme, then he should leave. He did not need anybody’s advice before he leaves the club. As the captain of the national team, he needs regular playing time. He needs a club where he would be playing at all times,” he said.
The Nigerian is out of favour under Conte, Chelsea’s Italian coach and is yet to make a single appearance for the Blues this season.
The 29-year-old enjoyed some sort of a renaissance under Guus Hiddink last season, but he’s been left in the cold since Conte arrived Stamford Bridge.
Mikel is competing with Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante for a spot in defensive midfield, and the Nigerian confirmed he’s spoken to Conte about his frustrations at the club. “He has been open and honest with me. I respect him for that. He has explained the situation and I totally understand. “When you have been at a club for a long time, these things happen, where a club wants to move forward.
I just have to be professional, work as hard as I can to try and get into the team. I work twice as hard every day, and it’s because I appreciate this club. I have been here a long time, have a lot of trophies and memories that will never go away. If I don’t get back in the side, I will respect it. I always respect the football club’s decision. The club is more important than me,” Mikel was recently quoted by the international media.
Mikel’s former local coach, Ladan Bosso, told The Point that the player would have known from the start of the season that he is longer part of the club.
“Mikel should know that the Chelsea coach will not use him again. He has found a suitable replacement for him and nothing will change his mind. He has never tried him for once. That means he did not believe in him at all,” he said.