Super Eagles’ skipper Mikel Obi may this Tuesday get the opportunity of playing his 85th international game when Nigeria face Argentina for the eighth time.
With that, Mikel remains the fifth most capped Nigerian international. Incidentally, all those before him were also skippers of the Nigerian national teams.
Those that attained the 85th match before now were Muda Lawal on June 23, 1985; Nwankwo Kanu on January 6, 2010; Joseph Yobo on October 11, 2011 and Vincent Enyeama on June 17, 2013.
Nigeria did not lose the matches in which those players made their 85th appearance. That is the burden Mikel Obi possibly carries as he is expected to lead Nigeria against a strong opposition like Argentina and also under an inclement weather condition, which is expected to drop to almost freezing point.
When Muda Lawal had his 85th cap, Nigeria played a 1-1 away draw with Cote d’Ivoire on June 23, 1985.
The result was a goalless draw for Nwankwo Kanu as he came off the bench to replace Yakubu Aiyegbeni in a pre-Africa Cup of Nations friendly match with Zambia to earn his 85th cap.
For Yobo, his 85th cap was a match played in Abuja, Tunisia and it ended 2-2 as Nigeria drew with Guinea on October 8, 2011. Vincent Enyeama got a winning game in his 85th cap. Nigeria won 6-1 against Tahiti in a FIFA Confederations Cup in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
It is expected that Mikel’s 85th cap will bring similar good fortune when the Super Eagles face Argentina on Tuesday.
Mikel is a man of record. He belongs to the class of few players in the world who had featured in all FIFA’s final competitions having featured in U-17, U-20, U-23 Olympic tournament, FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup.
With that, he has taken an eternal step over Lionel Messi who never featured in U-16 and will never do so.