Chelsea star Mikel Obi has been announced as the new Super Eagles captain after Ahmed Musa relinquished the position on Thursday, saying this was to clear “a mix-up”.
“Something happened before I was made the captain of the Super Eagles. There was a mix-up,” Musa told reporters at the pre- match press conference to the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier in Kaduna.
“But right now, we have a new administration. Mikel is my senior and a big brother. So, Mikel is the captain, not me.” He then announced: “I want to announce now that from today, John Obi Mikel is our new captain.”
Mikel described Musa as a “wonderful professional”, commending his courage to surrender the captaincy to him. “I want to thank Ahmed Musa for being a wonderful professional,” he said. “It takes a man to come out and do what Ahmed Musa has done today. So, I commend him a lot for doing that.” Mikel will now lead Nigeria in Friday’s crucial 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt in the northern city of Kaduna.
Mikel represented Nigeria at the U-17 and U-20 levels at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and won the Silver Ball for the second-best player at the tournament, behind Lionel Messi, as Nigeria finished runner-up to Argentina.
He made his debut for the Super Eagles on August 17, 2005, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 1–0 friendly win over Libya. He did not play for the national team again prior to being named in the squad for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.
Mikel made his FIFA World Cup debut during the 2014 tournament in Brazil, winning a Man-of-the-Match award in the Super Eagles’ opening game against Iran and helping the team to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 1998
CSKA Moscow forward Musa was last year named the country’s skipper by former Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh, instead of vice-captain Mikel following the retirement of Vincent Enyeama from international football. The 28-year-old Mikel made his full international debut in 2005, five years before 23-year-old Musa.