Nigeria captain and talisman midfielder, John Obi Mikel has hinted that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), could be his last continental outing with the country. The 32-year-old who is currently the oldest player in Gernot Rohr’s youthful squad that is preparing for the tournament has been a regular fixture in the national team frame since he made his Super Eagles debut back in August 2005 during a friendly match against Libya.
The former Chelsea midfielder has been named in Gernot Rohr’s final 23-man squad for the tournament in Egypt and he is now set to play in his fourth Afcon after previous appearances in the 2006, 2008 and 2013 editions.
Speaking with the NFF Media, he said:
“I do not know but I think it may be (my last Afcon). I like to go every year and see how I feel.
“Obviously the young players are coming, I think before the next one comes around again I will be 34 or so.
“I think this will probably be my last Afcon but I’m not 100 percent sure yet. I have given so much to this nation and at some point, you have to let go. I don’t want to overstay my welcome.
“I will leave when I feel the time is right. Let’s hope we can make it count,”
Mikel was part of the Nigeria team that won the Africa Cup of Nations title six years ago, but insists he still desires to win more silverware with the Super Eagles.
“I’m always hungry to win if I didn’t want to win then I would not be here. I don’t just want to come in and play the Nations Cup. I have played so many games and there is no point that I’m just coming to play. I’ve come to win,” he continued.
“And that’s the same mentality I want to put in the younger ones to win. I know for some of them, it is just their first time and they just want to play but they need to have the mentality of going to win.
“That is the mentality that I have and hopefully, I can translate this from my performance on the pitch and outside the pitch when talking to them. Hopefully, we can do great things in Egypt,” he added.
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