Former Eagles Captain Mikel Obi Joins Stoke City

Mikel Obi won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012. Photo: [email protected] City

 

 

A former Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi has joined English Championship side, Stoke City ahead of the 2020/2021 season. 

The team confirmed the signing of the former Chelsea star on a free transfer on Monday.

“The [ex]Nigerian international midfielder joins Morgan Fox, James Chester and Steven Fletcher in checking in at the Bet365 Stadium ahead of the 2020/21 Championship season,” the club said on their website.

 

 

EPL Dream

Mikel had in March left Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor and becomes the fourth signing for Michael O’Neill’s team.

According to O’Neill, Mikel has invaluable experience which would help the team, explaining that he was impressed with the Nigerian when he first met him.

“We spent four hours talking and he made it clear he wants to get back into the Premier League and finish his career there and hopefully he can do that with Stoke City,” the coach said.

‘Winning Mentality’

For the player, joining the Potters is the beginning of a new chapter in his life, one he hopes will bring a winning mentality.

“If I can bring that experience and winning mentality here, then I will be happy,” Mikel said.

 

During his stint with Chelsea, the former Lyn Oslo midfielder made 370 appearances for the Blues, and won three FA Cups, as well as landing the domestic league twice.

He also won the Champions League and Europa League with the London side before he left for Chinese Super League outfit, Tianjin TEDA in 2017.

The 2016 Olympics bronze medalist was to later return to England in a short-term deal with Middlesbrough in January 2019.

File photo of Mikel who featured 370 times for Chelsea.

 

Mikel had 91 caps for the Super Eagles before his retirement from international football in 2019.

Ighalo Joins Mikel, Retires From Super Eagles

 

Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo (L) celebrates his goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Semi-final football match between Algeria and Nigeria at the Cairo International stadium in Cairo on July 14, 2019.

Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo has joined Mikel Obi to announce his retirement from the Super Eagles.

The Nigerian strike who plays for a Chinese club made the announcement on his social media page (Twitter).

He said it is now time for him to concentrate on the international club and give the younger players a chance to grow.

READ ALSO: Ighalo Emerges Highest Goal Scorer Of AFCON 2019

In his tweet, he thanked the NFF and the Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr for believing in him.

Ighalo emerged highest goal scorer of the African Cup of Nations 2019.

He also won the golden boot with five goals.

See Tweets Below: 

Aina, Mikel Left Out Of Eagles Starting Line-Up Against South Africa

Mikel To Miss Eagles AFCON Qualifier Against South Africa
Nigeria’s midfielder John Obi Mikel attends a press conference in Kaliningrad on June 15, 2018 during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament.
OZAN KOSE / AFP

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has left skipper Mikel Obi and Kola Aina out of his starting line up against South Africa.

See the line up below.

READ ALSO: Senegal Beat Benin 1-0, Advance To Semi Final

 

Mikel Calls For Calm, Focus Ahead Of Nigeria’s Clash With Croatia

Mikel Calls For Calm, Focus Ahead Of Nigeria's Clash With Croatia
Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr (R) and Nigeria’s midfielder John Obi Mikel attend a press conference in Kaliningrad on June 15, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament.
OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel says the youngest squad at the World Cup must keep their nerves in check and shoulder the expectations of Nigerians when they play Croatia on Saturday.

With millions of fans back home cheering them on, the Super Eagles enter the World Cup under pressure after a dismal record in recent tournaments.

The players go into the Group D match-up in Kaliningrad — Russia’s bucolic European exclave more than 750 miles (1200 kilometres) from the chaos of Moscow — knowing they must improve on a run of just one win in their last 11 World Cup matches.

“It’s going to be very interesting because they like to keep the ball and so do we,” Obi Mikel said on Friday at the region’s gleaming new white-and-blue stadium.

“We have a younger team so that might help us come the end of the game.”

At an average age of just 25 years and 337 days as the tournament begins, the Super Eagles are the youngest squad in Russia and Mikel, the former Chelsea midfielder now playing in China, believes the exuberance of youth may be the Super Eagles’ secret weapon.

“The players are full of energy and have a lot to prove because they’ve not played on this stage before,” he told reporters.

“Not a lot of players were here for the last World Cup but I think that might be a good thing. It’s important for them to control their emotions so we have to keep that in check as well.”

Although relatively inexperienced, Nigeria’s squad boasts a number of Premier League regulars, including Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Victor Moses of Chelsea.

‘Perhaps too early’

After a successful qualifying campaign, German coach Gernot Rohr rang the changes for two warm-up friendlies against England and the Czech Republic, both narrow losses.

“Of course we never like losing friendlies but the most important was to see my players,” he said Friday.

In charge since 2016, Rohr is well aware of the pressures that come with representing a football-loving nation with virtually 180 million citizens behind the team.

“We have pressure all the time and I am sure that we will make Nigerians happy. We are a young team and perhaps this World Cup comes a little bit early for them because they are so young,” said the former Bordeaux manager.

Much has been made of the risk of black players in Russia being targeted by the type of racist abuse that has dogged the Russian game for decades.

But captain and coach are optimistic that locals will support a team that contains several Russia-based players and whose captain’s partner is Russian.

“A lot of Russians seems to support the Nigerian team. I don’t know why, maybe because of my girlfriend,” Mikel said.

“But we seem to have a lot of support wherever we go and this place feels like home for us.”

Whatever happens on the pitch, Nigeria will leave Russia as undisputed winners in one category: style.

Their lurid green, black and white chevroned home kit sold three million replicas ahead of its release last week — and inspired dozens of knock-off versions from shrewd street vendors in Lagos.

Young guns vs golden generation

While Nigeria are stocked with young guns, Croatia come to Russia with several players, including Real Madrid maestro Luka Modric, in the golden years of their career.

The national captain was the lynchpin for the Champions League treble winners but recognises that a youthful Nigeria team could pose his team problems on Saturday night.

“Nigeria may be the best African team right now. They play vertically, fast and have great forwards,” Modric said.

“We prefer our own style — possession, tactics and attacking football. That is our biggest advantage.”

Modric, playing at his third World Cup, bristled when asked about his role in a corruption scandal back home.

“Nothing smarter to ask?” snapped the midfielder, who was charged in March over alleged false testimony over the details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham Hotspur.

AFP

World Cup: Being Underdogs Is Good For Us, Says Mikel

Super Eagles Captain, Mikel Obi (File photo)

 

Nigeria can surpass expectations at the World Cup finals by demonstrating the same fighting spirit and teamwork that got them to Russia, captain Mikel John Obi said on Friday.

The Super Eagles are currently 47th in the FIFA world rankings — the lowest of their opponents in Group D, Argentina (5th), Croatia (18th) and Iceland (22nd).

But former Chelsea star Obi said that could spur the Super Eagles on and beyond their previous tournament best of reaching the round of 16.

“Being underdogs is good for us. It means we have to do more, we have to be humble,” the experienced midfielder, who is set to play in his second World Cup, told a news conference.

“That means we can do better than what people expect us to do.”

He added: “We have to do better than we have ever done. It will be tough because we’re in a tough group and so our first game (versus Croatia) is very important.

“It’s important we win that game.”

Nigeria were in the southeastern city of Uyo to prepare for a warm-up game against the Democratic Republic of Congo in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Obi said his side had shown fighting spirit to qualify in the first place from a tough group that included African champions Cameroon and Algeria.

“One thing that will help us is we need to be together, play as a team, and the fighting spirit we have all this time, we need to show it in Russia,” he said.

“We need to continue the way we have done. We are a young and energetic team. We go as one, Nigeria and the team come first.”

AFP

Valencia Confirm Talks With Mikel Obi

Mikel-ObiValencia Sporting Director, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, has confirmed they have held transfer talks with Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

Mikel, 29, has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge this season and is yet to make an appearance under Antonio Conte.

Pitarch revealed that he engaged in negotiations with the defensive midfielder on Christmas Day and confirmed that the ball is firmly in his court with regards to ending his 10-year tenure with the blues.

He said: “In the case of Obi Mikel, with Chelsea’s permission, I met with him in London on Christmas day.

“I informed him of the option [of joining Valencia]. He said he would think about it”.

Valencia are looking to reinforce their squad this month in a bid to turn their fortunes around.

With just three wins in their 15 league games, Los Che are 17th in La Liga and level on 12 points with Sporting Gijon, who are in the relegation zone.

Nigeria Trash Algeria 3-1 In World Cup Qualifier

World Cup Qualifier: Nigeria Trash Algeria 3-1 in UyoThe Super Eagles of Nigeria have beaten the Desert Warriors of Algeria 3-1 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Chelsea forward Victor Moses scored Nigeria’s first goal in the 26th minute after a mix up in the Algerian defence.

Captain Mikel Obi added a second on 42 minutes after beating the offside trap set by the Algerian defence.

Nabil Bentaleb pulled one back for Algeria in the second half but Victor Moses’s 2nd goal of match wrapped up all three points for the Super Eagles.

Nigeria now have six points from the two matches played and have created a 4-point lead after Cameroon and Zambia played a 1-1 draw in the group’s other game.

Cameroon are second with two points while Zambia and Algeria who have both lost to Nigeria have one point each.

Georges Leekens’ men are now in danger of missing out on the 2018 World Cup in spite of having some of the continent’s most in-form players and being ranked third in the continent behind the Ivory Coast and Senegal.

Before the match, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, promised Super Eagles players $10,000 for every unreplied goal they score against Algeria, in the World Cup qualifier.

Governor Udom made this promise, when he visited the team at their Le Meridien Hotel camp, accompanied by his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio.

The Governor had donated 10million naira to the three-time African champions, after they defeated Tanzania 1-0 in September.

Governor Udom Promises Super Eagles $10,000 Per Goal

Governor Udom Promises Super Eagles $10,000 Per GoalAkwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has promised Super Eagles players $10,000 for every unreplied goal they score against Algeria, in Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Governor Udom made this promise, when he visited the team at their Le Meridien Hotel camp, accompanied by his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio.

The Governor had donated 10million naira to the three-time African champions, after they defeated Tanzania 1-0 in September.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will host Algeria in this weekend’s biggest African qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup.

Algeria, ranked third in the continent behind the Ivory Coast and Senegal, face a resurgent Group B pacesetters Nigeria at the ‘Nest of champions’ in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

While Algeria could not hold an early lead in a surprise 1-1 home draw with Cameroon in October, Nigeria made a perfect start by winning 2-1 in Zambia.

The Uyo showdown marks the debut of Belgian coach, Georges Leekens, the third handler of Algeria this year after Frenchman Christian Gourcoff and Serb Milovan Rajevac.

Starting Line-up

Coach Gernot Rohr has released his team list for the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Daniel Akpeyi starts in goal while Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Elderson Eciejile will file out in defence.

Captain Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi will marshal the midfield while Victor Moses, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi are the forwards.

The game kicks off 5pm Nigerian time.

Iheanacho, Mikel, Musa Make CAF Award 30-Man List

Iheanacho, Musa, Mikel, CAFNigerian stars, Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Obi and Ahmed Musa are among 30 players nominated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the 2016 African Footballer of the Year.

This is Iheanacho’s first-ever nomination for the continent’s top individual honour after a successful season with Manchester City in the English Premier League.

The 20-year-old striker has also established himself at full international level after he has represented Nigeria at U-17 and U-20 levels.

Chelsea midfielder, Mikel inspired Nigeria to win bronze at the Rio Olympics, while Ahmed Musa has shone at Russian champions, CSKA Moscow before his big-money move to Leicester City.

Mikel Obi Says Super Eagles Ready For Zambia

olympics, mikel, nigeria, team nigeria, Mikel Obi, Zambia, Super EaglesSuper Eagles captain, Mikel Obi, says the team is ready for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Chipolopolo of Zambia in Ndola.

Nigeria has won six of 16 previous matches with Zambia at international level, drawing five and losing five.

And captain of the side, Mikel says they are committed to improving Nigeria’s superior record against Zambia at senior international level.

Nigeria play Zambia away on Sunday and host Algeria on November 12 before four more games in 2017.

Meanwhile, Zambia are leaving nothing to chance to record their first win over Nigeria since 1985 after they appointed experienced David Kabwe as consultant to coach Wedson Nyirenda.

The Power Dynamos coach, Kabwe is highly regarded, having briefly worked as Zambia’s assistant coach in 2001.

He led Zanaco to two Zambian league championships, and was on attachment at Premier League side Arsenal in 1999 when he worked in Swaziland and he is a CAF instructor.

Kabwe was also tipped to handle the Chipolopolo after they were upset by Guinea Bissau in AFCON 2017 qualifiers.

Super Eagles Beat Plateau United 3-0 In Test Match

Super Eagles, Plateau UnitedThe Super Eagles on Wednesday defeated local league side, Plateau United, 3 – 0 in a test match at the National Stadium in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Anderson Esiti’s goal and Alex Iwobi’s brace gave the Eagles a whopping victory over the Nigerian Premier League club.

Coach Gernot Rohr lined up his players for the practice game as he intensifies Nigeria’s preparations for Sunday’s Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia in Ndola.

The coach reportedly made wholesome changes to the playing personnel at half time after struggling in the first half.

The move paid off as the Eagles became more dangerous, confining their opponents to their half of the field.

The starting 11 had Ezenwa, Musa Muhammed, Madu, Jamiu, Agbo, Esiti, Shehu, Ahmed Musa, Chisom Egbuchulam, Nosa and Obaje.

While the second half featured Ikeme, Echiejile, Omeruo, Ekong, Onazi, Mikel, Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Iwobi, Ndidi and Ideye.

Mikel Obi Determined To Stay At Chelsea

Mikel ObiChelsea’s Nigerian midfielder, John Mikel Obi, says he has no intention of leaving the London club.

Signed to the club in 2006 and now second only to Captain John Terry as the longest serving player in the club, Obi says Chelsea has become his home.

There have been rumours linking Mikel with a move away from West London but recent pre-season happenings show that Jose Mourinho might have plans for Mikel in his squad, at least in the 2015/16 season.

The 28-year-old spoke to club website and expressed confident views about his chances in the Chelsea squad.

“I want to stay and the manager wants me to stay,” said Mikel.

“I’ve got two years [on my contract] here and I’m happy.

“I like to be somewhere where I have developed friends and family. It’s like my family here and every day I come to work it is like coming in to see my family.

“I know all the players and all the staff so it’s going to be a hard place to leave when my contract runs out but let’s see what happens. I want to see out my two years.”

Mikel Obi played the first half of Chelsea’s match with New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, leaving the pitch at the break with the Blues 1-0 ahead.

He created an excellent chance for a second with a fine long pass which was latched on to by his compatriot Victor Moses. The winger was unlucky not to score with a dink that hit the post and not the net.

Mikel believes, “Overall it was a pretty good warm-up game but not the result we hoped for.

“We knew we needed to start the game well. I was in the dressing room having a shower at the beginning of the second half so I don’t know how we started but we obviously didn’t end the game well.”

Goals from Loïc Rémy and Eden Hazard could not prevent Chelsea slipping to a 4-2 defeat.

“We are here to work hard, and we are here to train hard leading to the Community Shield and to the league. I think we’re on the right course. That game was just a one-off game and we know we need to go back to training, buckle up and know the season is starting soon”, Mikel Obi said.