Judging from the statement on Chelsea’s official webpage, it appears the club has found Mikel’s Rio performance with the u-23 Nigerian national team rather impressive.
Towards the end of July, the club permitted the midfielder to represent his home country at the Rio Olympics.
By honoring the call to be the captain of the team, the 29-year old professional footballer forfeited the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.
The star is not confused about the essence of patriotism. Mikel’s Rio performance obviously says it all.
“I am appealing to my fellow athletes to give their best for our fatherland on the field and be the nation’s best public relations officers off the field by being good ambassadors.”- Mikel Obi
Mikel was listed in the Super Eagles 18-man Olympic squad under the quota for over-aged players.
On a personal level, the Nigerian captain seems to be having a worthwhile experience with the Rio games given that this is his first Olympic appearance since he missed the past 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Nigeria was drawn in Group B of the Rio Games together with Sweden, Colombia and Japan. Already the team has qualified for the quarterfinals with their most recent 1-0 win against Sweden.
After the fire brigade move to the Rio Olympics on Thursday, the team won the tournament against Japan with a 5-4 score.
Officially commending the skills of their midfielder, Chelsea took to their webpage to appreciate Mikel’s Rio performance.
“The 29-year-old influenced proceedings throughout a tense second half, when the experience of a player with a complete trophy cabinet in English football proved vital to reassure and reinvigorate a team of largely Under-23s.”
“Mikel and his team-mates displayed growing cohesion and confidence in comparison to their remarkable 5-4 win against Japan last Thursday, which took place only a few hours after the squad touched down in Brazil following a logistical nightmare.”
At the moment Nigeria tops the Group B table with six points ahead of Colombia. Nigeria will play its final group stage match against Colombia on Tuesday (today) at 6:00 p.m. ET.