Mikel Obi has said that he is returning to the Super Eagles to qualify Nigeria to the next Africa Cup of Nations after the Eagles missed out of the last tournament.
On Tuesday, the Chelsea midfielder was picked among 15 foreign-based pros for the return leg clash against the Lone Star of Liberia to be played on October 13 in Calabar with the overall winners advancing to the tournament final stage in South Africa in January.
“I am ready to put in my best to see that we redeem ourselves by defeating Liberia to secure the Nations Cup ticket. Missing out of last edition still hurts and so this is a must-win game and I am ready to do battle,” Mikel told MTNFootball.com.
The Eagles were held to a 2-2 draw in Monrovia by hosts Liberia earlier this month with Mikel opting out of that clash after it was first learnt that the game would be played on an artificial pitch.
But the Chelsea midfielder has again restated his total commitment to the national team cause despite suggestions to the contrary.
“I have no other nation apart from Nigeria and I am happy to be back in the Eagles even though I have always seen myself as part of the team even when I was not playing games.”
Mikel, who has won 37 caps and scored two goals since his debut in 2005, has yet to play for Nigeria under Stephen Keshi, who took over from Samson Siasia in November.
The Nigeria Football Federation on Wednesday condemned the criticisms trailing the list of invited players for the match against Liberia.
A member of the Technical Committee told the News Agency of Nigeria that anybody questioning the number of invited players was ignorant of the reasons behind the action.
Keshi had on Tuesday released the list of invited players made up of 15 foreign and 23 home-based players for the final camping.
Some followers of the game had questioned the rationale behind the invitation of 38 players, for a 10-day camping exercise. They described the number as “too large.”
“You cannot expect the coach to pick 11 players to prepare for the Liberia match. You need this large number because he is also looking ahead. For the foreign-based list, some of us were not too happy with the performance of some of the players that went to Liberia, so there is need to beef up the squad,” the NFF official said.