Ex-Nigerian footballer and sports administrator, Segun Odegbami, Thursday urged the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, to drop captain John Obi Mikel from Nigeria’s 2019 African Cup of Nations, AFCON, squad.
Mikel Obi is yet to play for Nigeria since the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but Odegbami wants Rohr not to include the midfielder in Super Eagles’ squad that will represent Nigeria in Egypt this summer.
Odegbami believes the Middlesbrough star has done his part for with Super Eagles and should be allowed to move on.
“Recall Mikel? History is against such a decision. Mikel is not the player he once was. We have seen his best and it cannot be recreated or better. What did it fetch?
“The last time we brought back a captain it ended in a disaster that halted the country from going to its first World Cup in 1981. Why are we not taking lessons from history? Why do we keep doing the same things based on sentiments and expecting a different result?
“If old players do not retire new players cannot emerge. Some of the best players in our history came into being by been thrown into the deep end of a big competition and discovering their best-hidden ability. I am a good example. I took over from Baba Otu Mohammed after he had just been named Africa’s best right-winger but was disappointing in a few games. One match did the transformation.
“Nigeria shall not win AFCON 2019 because of Mikel. We can diminish our chances or even lose it because of him. Let him be, and let’s throw up new talent. We won’t know how good a player is until we give them a chance at a high level,” Odegbami said in an interview with ThisDay.
The Super Eagles will know their AFCON 2019 group stage opponents on Friday evening at the draw ceremony in Cairo, Egypt.