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Mikel Obi
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Mikel Obi Plays His Last AFCON Game

Jayfred Ugo

John Mikel Obi, the captain of Gernot Rohr's youthful squad, is on the 23-man list representing Nigeria in Egypt for the 2019 AFCON.

The 32-year-old captain has hinted that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations [AFCON] could be his last appearance for Nigeria in this continental competition.

Since he made his Super Eagles debut back in August 2005 during a friendly match against Libya, the Middlesbrough man has been a regular feature in the national team.

This is Mikel's fourth appearance in Africa's most prized competition. He featured in 2006, 2008, 2013 and 2019.

Mikel told NFF media:

“I do not know but I think it may be (my last AFCON). I like to go every year and see how I feel.

“Obviously, the young players are coming, I think before the next one comes around again I will be 34 or so.

“I think this will probably be my last Afcon but I’m not 100 percent sure yet. I have given so much to this nation and at some point, you have to let go. I don’t want to overstay my welcome.

“I will leave when I feel the time is right. Let’s hope we can make it count.”

Mikel's club career has also been an illustrious one, with several accolades including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, two Premier League titles and three FA cups among other trophies

“I’m always hungry to win. If I didn’t want to win then I would not be here. I don’t just want to come in and play the Nations Cup. I have played so many games and there is no point that I’m just coming to play. I’ve come to win,” he continued.

“And that’s the same mentality I want to put in the younger ones to win. I know for some of them, it is just their first time and they just want to play but they need to have the mentality of going to win.

“That is the mentality that I have and hopefully, I can translate this from my performance on the pitch and outside the pitch when talking to them. Hopefully, we can do great things in Egypt.”

Mikel further revealed that he will not be taking up an immediate role in football. He said, “Life after football? I don’t know if I will still be in the game, I have a lot of things going on.”

“I like to do business. I’m a business guy so I don’t know if I will have time to be in the game. I love the game but who knows, maybe one day, I might come back to the game but at this point, after football, I am not thinking about being in the game.”