Mikel regrets Nigeria AFCON failure

…Zambia’s Sinkala out injured

NIGERIA international Mikel Obi has expressed his disappointment over the country’s failure to defend the AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.

  Champions Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON when they were upstaged in the final day of the qualifiers by South Africa and Congo in November.

  “It will be awkward for me to be at home to watch AFCON because I have always taken part in it, but at the same time it is a good chance for me to be here and help the Chelsea team whenever I am needed,” Mikel told Chelsea FC official website.

  “As I said, if we want to be champions we need every player so though I am devastated I am not going to be representing my country, at the same time you look at it in the positive way of being here (at Chelsea) and helping the team, and that is exactly what I like to do.”

  Mikel won the AFCON with Nigeria two years ago and also clinched third-placed finishes in 2006, 2008 and 2010. 

 Meanwhile, Nathan Sinkala will play no further part at the 2015 AFCON after sustaining an injury in Sunday’s draw with DR Congo.

  The TP Mazembe midfielder limped off in the 85th minute of the 1-1 draw with DR Congo and was replaced by Nkana defender, Christopher Munthali.

  Zambia team physician Dr Joseph Kabungo said yesterday in Ebebiyin that Sinkala has suffered a knee injury.

  “After further evaluation last night it was discovered that he suffered a ligament tear in the knee,” Dr Kabungo said.

  “He will need minimum of three to four weeks away from football, so sadly that essentially rules him out of the rest of this tournament.”

  Sinkala’s departure is a blow to Zambia in that defensive midfield department that he has made his own since the deputy team captain made his competitive debut at the 20012 Africa Cup in Equatorial Guinea.

  The natural choice in that position is Kondwani Mtonga of Zesco United but he has been shunted to defence to partner Stopilla Sunzu.

  With that, Sinkala’s likely replacement will be Nkana defender Donshano Malama who will be eligible to play after missing the DR Congo game due to suspension.

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