Former Nigeria internationals, Mutiu Adepoju and Edema Fuludu, have said that for the Super Eagles to have a successful run to qualification for the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, John Obi Mikel’s form is crucial. The Eagles face Egypt in a qualifier game in Kaduna on 25 March.
Adepoju said the Chelsea midfielder had high confidence levels and had shown the ability to take responsibility for the pack. He said Mikel had improved under new manager, Guus Hiddink. He, however, said it would be better if he could work more on his creative play for the team.
“Mikel has achieved a new level of confidence in his game and it was what resulted in his ability to take the responsibility for the team against PSG. He saw himself as responsible for the opponent’s first goal and fought well to get one back for his team.
“This is a different player from the one he was under (Jose) Mourinho. This ‘new’ Mikel will be important in the Nations Cup qualifiers against Egypt. The Eagles can now count him among the players who are in form and will deliver the goodies for the country.
“What he needs more now is the creative edge he lost but he can still play well in the same defensive midfield position in the Eagles,” he concluded.
Fuludu said Mikel’s presence would be a fear factor for the opponents. He said if the midfielder could maintain his form, he could wreck havoc on the Egyptians. He attributed his massive improvement to the playing time he has enjoyed under Hiddink.
Mike scored his sixth Chelsea goal in 358 appearance on Tuesday in a 2-1 loss to Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Champions League.