Zunis Stopilla of Zambia challenges Obi Mikel of Nigeria during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match between Nigeria and Zambia on 07 October 2017 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria ©Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix
Saturday Jun 08, 2019. 09:00
Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has explained why he has not played for the Super Eagles since the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
The Middlesbrough central midfielder, who has played for Nigeria for over 15 years, stated that he needed some much-needed rest after the World Cup.
Mikel also explained that he had injury problems as the Super Eagles prepare for the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt.
''To be honest, there was not really much, I think nothing really happened. I had a conversation with the coach, we have a very good understanding, me and the coach,'' Mikel said on All Nigeria Soccer.
''I had few injuries after the World Cup and also I feel for me I needed a bit of rest because to be honest, I have been doing this for over 15 years now with the national team since I started with the U17.
''If you have been doing something that long, at some point you'll need a rest and I had a good conversation with the coach coupled with the injuries," Mikel, who has been included in Nigeria's provisional AFCON squad, added.
''I decided to take some time off and then regroup hopefully when we get to the Nations Cup I'll always be there to help the team and that's exactly what happened.''
Egypt will host the 2019 AFCON between June 21 and July 19.