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Mikel wants to join U-23 Eagles for Rio Olympics



John Obi Mikel 

• I’m not aware, says Pinnick
• Enyimba may dump Ikhana

Super Eagles and Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel has indicated his willingness to feature for the U-23 team at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as one of three over-aged players, according to

However, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, told The Guardian yesterday that he was not aware of such move. “Sincerely speaking, I don’t know anything about such move by Mikel,” Pinnick said.

The 28-year-old Mikel has won almost every major trophy at stake, including the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League, but he has so far missed out on playing at the Olympics.

Incidentally, it was coach Samson Siasia who left him out from the Beijing 2008 Olympics after the midfielder had stayed away from the qualifiers for the competition.
“He has made it clear he wishes to play at the Rio Olympics,’ a top official of the NFF specially revealed to
“But it is left for the coach to pick who will be the overage players along to Brazil next year.”
For the 2008 Olympics, Siasia took along Ozase Odemwingie and Victor Anichebe as overage players.

Nigeria, back under Siasia, will lead Algeria and South Africa to the Rio 2016 Olympics in August after they clinched the U-23 AFCON in Senegal at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Nigeria champions, Enyimba have begun discussions to re-engage Eagles assistant coach Salisu Yusuf ahead of next year’s CAF Champions League.

In November, Kadiri Ikhana led Enyimba to claim a seventh Nigeria league title but the highly experienced coach may not be the man to lead them into next year’s CAF Champions League.

According to, Enyimba are now targeting Salisu Yusuf, who made a huge impression when he was in charge of the Aba club two years ago.

However, discussions between Enyimba and the Eagles coach have stalled after Salisu insisted he first be paid the over four million Naira they owe him when he first worked at the club.

Enyimba will also have to find a way round to how they could have the services of the Zaria-born tactician as he is contracted to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) as an assistant coach to Sunday Oliseh.

The coach, who has also handled Kano Pillars and El Kanemi Warriors, himself has refused to comment on the renewed interest of his former employers.

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