Tuesday Jan 22, 2019. 10:00
Former Nigeria national team coach Samson Siasia has urged supporters to have patience with veteran midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Nigerian fans are calling for the former Chelsea player to return to the Super Eagles set-up ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
However, Siasia insists that the 31-year-old must sort out his club career before he returns for the national team.
Mikel is currently a free agent, having recently left his Chinese club Tianjin Teda. He is reportedly looking to return to Europe, though recent reports suggest he was turned down by English second-tier club Middlesbrough.
"Everybody knows that Mikel is a patriotic and devoted captain of the Super Eagles. To the best of my knowledge, he will never shirk his responsibility as Eagles captain. He will not also abscond from the team without cogent reasons,” Siasia explained to Nigeria’s Adante Sports.
"One thing we should also know is that Mikel has not played for a while now, and he is trying to move to another club. I believe he wants to secure his job situation before he will worry about the Super Eagles," Siasia said.
Nigeria will return to action in March with their final 2019 AFCON qualifier at home to the Seychelles (a dead rubber, given that the Super Eagles have qualified, while the island minnows cannot) followed by a friendly with Egypt.