“At the age of 32, it is time for me to bow out of the team and let the young ones take over. Egypt is a country where I’ve started and have finished my national career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my Country. 2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for national team with Super Eagles.” That was how Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi announced his retirement from international football last Thursday after leading Nigeria to secure a third place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
While thanking his fans and the entire country for all the trust, support and love they have shown to him in the last 15 years, Mikel recalled that “my national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and I’m grateful to the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible national and international career.”
Mikel was 12 years old when he was picked as a talented footballer from over 3,000 young talents to play in the Pepsi Football Academy. He later played in Plateau United in the Nigeria national league. Mikel took the centre stage of football when he represented Nigeria at the FIFA Under -17 World Championships in Finland. He later proceeded to South Africa club Ajax Cape Town on trial before joining Lyn in Norway.
Mikel is famous for being one of the best midfielders ever produced by Nigeria. He has a net worth of $57 million. His career took a new turn in 2017 when he left Chelsea for a Chinese club, Tianjin TEDA on a free transfer. Following his transfer, Mikel was meant to “earn about $185, 611 as his weekly salary and an annual take-home salary of $8.6 million with bonuses and add-ons.”
While he was in Chelsea, Mikel had a total of 10 major winners’ medals; Two Premier League 2009/2010, 2014/2015; Four FA Cups 2006/2007, 2008/2009, 2009/2010,
2011/2012; Two Capital One Cups 2006/2007, 2014/2015; One UEFA Champions League 2011/2012; and One UEFA Europa League 2012/2013.
Isinwa Kingsley, Sales Manager
Mikel Obi has given his all to the country. He started from the Under 17 where he shined like a star to give himself the opportunity to have a wonderful career. He has been a loyal servant of the national team and a faithful leader but as we all know all good things must come to an end. His body isn’t the same anymore and his pace has dropped over the years. So leaving the scene for the younger generation to come in is a welcome development. He has won almost everything a player could dream off from the UCL, UEL, English Premier League, Carling Cup, FA Cup, Olympic medal, African Nations Cup etc. He is truly one of the best of his generation.
Ibitoye Adebanji, an Engineer
John Obi Mikel has done fantastically well for Nigeria by giving all his best and loyalty to the country. This is the best time for him to call it a quit in the national team so as to create space for intending players who are young and vibrant. Mikel is patriotic because he answers whenever he is called upon. I think he deserves to be given a proper farewell for his tremendous effort in the Super Eagles. The Super Eagles will sure miss his leadership qualities because he set a good example in and off the pitch that the young players can emulate.
Adiboshi Pius, Media Man
Mikel Obi’s national career started in 2003, then as an under 17 player, then made his first national appearance for super eagles in 2006. I think retiring at age 32 is a good move. The squad will really miss him. He has been a very productive player until now. I feel there is no better time considering the squad’s recent achievements, securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019.
Ikechi Masor, Businessman
I think it’s not good. We still need him; maybe in some of the qualifying matches. He might not play 90 minutes but his input is still needed. But if he sees it as the best time to leave, then it’s all good. However, I think he should have stayed on for another one year or two, maybe not for another AFCON. But his retirement is abrupt.
Aduragbemi Akinpelu, Content Creator
For me, it’s farewell to one of Nigeria’s most decorated football stars. He chose the right time. His career started and ended in Egypt. To have spent about 11 years at Chelsea is not a joke. The only fear and hope is I pray we find a replacement soon.