Mikel John Obi

It’s hard to think of any player who divides opinion like Mikel John Obi. Even his name is a talking point.

 

He was actually born John Michael Nchekwube Obinna. During preparations for the 2003 Under-17 World Cup, the Nigerian Football Association mistakenly submitted "Michael" as "Mikel" for the tournament in Finland. He decided to keep the new name, saying that it had a special ring to it.
 
Since then the variations have been Mikel John Obi, John Obi Mikel or John Mikel Obi. Whichever version is in vogue, the name on his shirt is Mikel and he’s become one of the most successful Nigerian players to ever play in Europe and for a team that is incredibly popular in his homeland.

The problem is the gifted young midfielder who hit the big time as a regular with Chelsea and was the second best player at the U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands in 2005 plays more an enforcer for his club. The silky skills of 2005 are like a distant dream at a time when he was seen as the midfield chosen one, the conductor of the Nigerian orchestra.

Eric Cantona was famously dismissive of the sort of role Mikel, as he is now known worldwide plays, calling Didier Deschamps a water carrier. A succession of Chelsea coaches may value him, but even part of the Chelsea fanbase are critical of his contribution.

José Mourinho brought him to Chelsea at the age of 19 and described him as “pure gold”. The move came in the face of fierce competition from Manchester United and at bone point Mikel was photographed in a United shirt. It took a court case to settle the issue and Chelsea paid £16million for the 19 year old Mikel.

The fee makes it all the more surprising that on arrival Mikel was quickly converted to a defensive midfielder. 250 plus games later, the jury is still out as to whether defensive midfield is his rightful position, and others are even debating whether he’s good enough for Chelsea.
A succession of high profile coaches at Chelsea have maintained their faith in him and he recently played is 250th game for the club and signed a new five year contract. Champions and Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a League Cup have come his way at Stamford Bridge.
Mikel’s international career has courted controversy.

Mikel made his debut for Nigeria's senior team in August 2005 as a second-half substitute against Libya. He did not play for the national team again prior to being named in the squad for the 2006 African Cup of Nations where he started his first game.
 
The controversy quickly followed. In 2007 Mikel was suspended from all Nigerian national teams. Then Super Eagles mananger Berti Vogts dropped Mikel for failing to attend a match.He'd also refused to play for the Under-23 side and it resulted in his suspension by the NFA.

After apologizing, he was called up to the National squad for the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana where they were beaten by the hosts in the quarter-finals.

Mikel had been called up for the Under-23 side in preparation of the team's last olympic qualifier on 26 March 2008, needing a win to qualify. His failure to show up for any of the qualifiers again caused some controversy with the U-23 team coach Samson Siasia, who dropped him from the Olympic squad.

In 2010 Mikel missed the biggest tournament of them all when he was ruled out of the World Cup due to injury. He had been struggling to shake off a knee problem after undergoing surgery in May, though there were also reports that an ankle injury was to blame for Mikel's withdrawal.

He’s back in the fold now and love him or loathe him the question is can the Super Eagles do without him.

Comments   

 
0 #2 Jamess 2014-02-01 06:57
I agree with this story.
I support John Obi Mikel
I'm an chelsea fan,I love John Obi Mikel
Thank you for information sharing
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0 #1 new 2014-01-31 08:29
Thanks for sharing, I like John Obi Mikel
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