John Mikel Obi wants to be assured of his position as the Super Eagles’ captain as condition for him to return to the senior national football squad.
Mikel, who joined English Championship side, Middlesbrough, last January from Chinese Super League side, Tianjin TEDA has not kicked a ball for the Eagles after captaining the national team to a first round exit at the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Head coach, Gernot Rohr, has made frantic efforts to manage the agitations that trailed the continued absence of the ex-Chelsea star from the squad which has raised doubts about his commitment.
Mikel now wants to be assured of reclaiming the captain’s armband before taking the decision to be part of the squad to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations starting in June in Egypt.
Mikel’s demand is coming after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, referred to Ahmed Musa as “Captain” at the NFF Awards Night in Eko Hotel held in Lagos on April 1.
The Awards gala which had the Super Eagles class of 94 in attendance saw Ahmed Musa voted the Nigeria’s Male Player of 2018 and Pinnick while receiving the award for Musa said, “I want to say congratulations to my son, my captain; Ahmed Musa.”
Guests were visibly left in shock wondering if the Al Nassr forward had officially taken over the captaincy of the Eagles from Mikel .
Rohr, who it was learnt was making last minute moves to have a private discussion with the Middlesbrough player gave various reasons for Mikel’s self-imposed exile during a parley with the media in Asaba last month.
Meanwhile, the media officer of the Eagles, Toyin Ibitoye, says Mikel has not made such demands since he is still the captain of the team.