Nigeria skipper John Obi Mikel says that his return to international football was in accord with the discussion he had with coach Gernot Rohr, in which they agreed that he would only come back when he feels he is ready to give his very best again.
Mikel returned to the Super Eagles fold in the friendly against the Warriors of Zimbabwe – which ended in a goalless draw – for the first time since the 2018 World Cup, where Nigeria exited the competition at the group stage.
“I am still very much motivated and if I am not I won’t have come to the camp,” he told the media after Saturday’s match in Asaba.
“I told the coach that I would return to the Eagles when I am ready I will come back and when I come back I will give able to give 100 percent.
“The team has been fantastic until now because of the way they have been playing and I have come to offer my experience and to help the team so that we can have a good tournament.”
The former Chelsea star further added that he and other experienced members of the national team will continue to keep the youngsters in the squad under their proverbial wings.
“The Super Eagles camp is a good learning ground for the players that are here,” he continued.
“With the absence of [Wilfred] Ndidi, [Abdullahi] Shehu and others it is also good that we have flashes of talented players that were able to prove their worth.
“We could see the quality in the team against Zimbabwe. We just have to continue to keep talking to them.”
At the Afcon finals in Egypt, which kicks off on June 21, the Super Eagles have been drawn in Group B alongside Burundi, Guinea, and Madagascar