Former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi has disclosed that he almost quit the national team immediately after the team’s successful outing at the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Mikel who was speaking to Trabzonspor’s weekend magazine made the confession when he was asked why he exited the national team at the age of 32.
The former Chelsea midfielder retired from the national team assignment after helping the team to a third-place finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Mikel, however, said he enjoyed his 13 years of service with the national team, and adamant he made the right decision by leaving to allow youngster players in the team to develop.
“I served the national team for 13 years, a larger part of those years as captain. In this process, we have achieved significant successes as a team. I first wanted to leave in 2013, but as a result of our negotiations with the authorities, I decided to continue.”
“We currently have very talented young players. They ’re all bright. I think these players can handle the challenges. I had to make room for them. Besides, I don’ t have many years of football in front of me. I want to focus on my team .”
The former Lyn Oslo man said the team was unlucky not to win the 2019 AFCON, but admitted that the future of the national team is secured with young and exciting players in the squad.
“Our team did a good job, we could do more, we could have won the tournament, but it was unfortunate. We have a very good national team and I think they can achieve significant success in the future. I will continue to give them my best support .” He concluded.