Ikpeba hails Mikel’s exclusion from South Africa fixture

Mikel Obi Super Eagles jersey

Ex-Nigeria international, Victor Ikpeba, has hailed the exclusion of Mikel Obi from the forthcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against South Africa and Uganda friendly.

On Monday, Rohr named a 23-man squad for both games.

Mikel is yet to return to international duty ever since captaining the country at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

While prior omissions had uncertainty about the former Chelsea player’s fitness, this, however, seems way off it as the 31-year-old was on parade for his club Tianjin Teda on Sunday, scoring one of their goals in another loss.

However, Ikpeba does not see it as an issue, trusting Rohr with his judgements.

“Mikel is not a must in Eagles. I understand the coach,” Ikpeba said on Supersport’s Monday Night Football.

“Mikel has been a fantastic player for the national team for more than a decade. And I understand that the skipper and the coach have a great relationship but we don’t know why he was not invited.

“But this is great for the team and great for the young set of players that they can do without Mikel and without Victor Moses.  The team has been brilliant without them and the coach has been apt with the decision,”

New faces in the list include Villarreal starlet Samuel Chukwueze, while FC IfeanyiUbah defender Olamilekan Adeleye will stand a chance for his competitive debut. Mikel Agu returns to the fold after missing out on a World Cup spot, with young striker Victor Osimhen was also handed a call-up.

On the standby list, Henry Onyekuru and Chidozie Awaziem are joined by three home-based professionals.

On November 17, the Group E leaders take on South Africa at the FNB Stadium and three days later they play Uganda in a friendly billed for the Stephen Keshi Stadium.