Mikel denies donating to Dream Team

Mikel Obi Super Eagles of Nigeria

Super Eagles skipper, John Obi Mikel, has denied rendering any form of financial assistance to the national U23 team currently in Atlanta, United States of America (USA).

It was reported earlier on Thursday that the Chelsea midfielder donated the sum of $30,000 (N9.4m) to the team which he is a part of.

Coach Samson Siasia had accused the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) of negligence – constantly lamenting the sorry state of his players in the US.

“We don’t have money. We are in the (United States of) America now without any money. So, it is a big problem,” the gaffer said early in July.

But Mikel, who is also Team Nigeria skipper to this summer’s Rio Olympics, refuted the news that he came to the team’s rescue – insisting his teammates are not hungry.

The 29-year-old revealed that such speculations are only meant to distract the squad especially with less than six days to their first clash at the tournament.

“I was first told of this unfortunate story by a friend who called me from Nigeria. I thought he was joking until he sent me the link,” Mikel told the NFF.

“I don’t know the source of this story which to me is all out to divide us as a team. I would have thought that stories that should be coming out in the media are stories that will unite the team instead of dividing us.

“Our target in Rio is to excel, but if they continue like this, then I wonder how we can be united.

“Tell me the players who are in this team that are so hungry that will be looking up to me for survival? Is it (William) Ekong, (Oghenekaro) Etebo, (Shehu) Abdulahi, (Daniel) Akpeyi, (Kingsley) Madu, (Okechukwu) Azubuike or (Stanley) Amuzie, who are my team-mates in the Super Eagles, that I will be donating to, or other players who are plying their trade abroad and are doing well for themselves?

“To me, this is just mere distraction that won’t help this team going into a major tournament like the Olympics,” he concluded.

Nigeria face Japan on August 4 at the Amazônia Arena Manaus in their opening game of the competition as they gun for a second Olympic football gold medal.