There are indications that John Obi Mikel will be returning to the Nigerian national football team ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Since leading the Super Eagles in their last group game against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Mikel has been absent from all national team duties.
It was later revealed that the experienced midfielder played for Nigeria against Argentina despite getting the news a few hours to kickoff that his father had been kidnapped for a second time.
There is no verified information on whether Mikel’s decision to stay away from national team duties had to do with his father’s kidnap.
However, it was gathered that the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, met with Mikel over the weekend in London and he has gotten assurances from the former Chelsea star that he would be available for the 2019 AFCON.
Also, football portal AOIFootball.com quoted Mikel as declaring his intention to return to the Super Eagles ahead of the tournament in Egypt.
“I met with Coach Rohr and we discussed his plans for the team in the forthcoming tournament. All I can say is that I am delighted and happy because I am coming to the Nations Cup” Mikel Obi was quoted as saying.
Ahead of the Nations Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation has released the itinerary for the Super Eagles and it is expected that Mikel will feature prominently in it.
According to Ademola Olajire, NFF spokesperson, the Super Eagles will set up a camp in Asaba, Delta State from June 2, play a friendly with the Warriors of Zimbabwe on June 8 and fly to Egypt the following day.
“They will set up a final training camp in Ismailia and then play a friendly against Africa’s number one –ranked team, Senegal in Ismailia on 16th June. On 17th June, they will depart Ismailia for Alexandria – venue of their AFCON Group B matches,” he added.
Three-time champions Nigeria will be up against Burundi on 22nd June, confront Guinea on 26th June and tackle Madagascar on 30th June, all in Alexandria.
The 32nd Africa Cup of Nations will hold in four Egyptian cities (Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia) 21st June – 19th July.
While Mikel is making plans for his return to international football, latest transfer reports also suggest that the midfield maestro is commanding interest from some newly-promoted English Premiership sides.
It is understood that the duo of Sheffield United and Norwich City are making advances to sign Mikel during the summer transfer window.