Mikel Obi has not featured for Nigeria in any of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and has been left out of the forthcoming top of the table clash against South Africa in Johannesburg, but the 31-year-old says he remains committed to the team.
Mikel is captain of the Eagles but since Nigeria’s ouster from the World Cup in Russia, the midfielder has not turned out with his teammates.
Within that period, the Eagles have played three competitive matches and an exhibition match against Liberia.
Responding to insinuations he could either be considering international retirement or dictating which games to feature in, the 2013 AFCON winner said, he has been struggling with fitness.
“I’m still not ready to come back yet (to the Super Eagles). I still have some physical and fitness issues. I wish the team well and will always do,” the player was quoted by Ayo Ibidapo [aoifootball.com].
“My commitment to the national team remains 100%; I still remain a part of the team and will always support the lads.
“The Nations Cup remains our ultimate goal for now and we are just one point away from reaching that target,” said Mikel.
However, despite those fitness claims, Mikel has appeared 7 times for his Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda; playing 90 minutes in every game.
Nigeria will face South Africa in the penultimate group E match, and the Eagles could seal their place in next year’s AFCON if they pick three points against Bafana Bafana at the FNB Stadium.