Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has described his appointment as Team Nigeria Captain to the 2016 Olympic Games as ‘overwhelming.’
Sports minister Barrister Solomon Dalung confirmed Mikel’s appointment on Wednesday, and the Chelsea midfielder, who is one of two over-age players selected to represent the U23 side in the football event was overjoyed by the news.
“First and foremost, I will say I am overwhelmed with this opportunity to be the captain of Team Nigeria to the Rio Olympics. This is the highest accolade you can ever have as a sportsman and it’s one I am really looking forward to,” Mikel told thenff.com from the team’s training base in Atlanta, USA.
“I am much pleased and very happy with myself for what I have been able to achieve, and grateful to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the entire country for this opportunity.
“My objective is definitely going to be to carry everyone along. I think it’s important that we all work together, it’s important that we all set one goal, and that goal is to be successful, to win medals, to make sure we get gold medals. Our country has not done very well in recent times at the Olympics, so hopefully we can go to Rio and do well.”
Mikel who is also the captain of the Super Eagles, spoke of the enormous responsibility that comes with his new role saying: “It’s massive, it’s big, it’s not just the football team. I am the captain of the Super Eagles. Sometimes you look at it and you think that’s a big burden, but this is even much bigger, it’s one that I am looking forward to.
“If you look at my track record at Chelsea, I have always played for the team, I have always been a team player, I have never been an individual player, so I think this is something I will be carrying into the Olympics and carry into Team Nigeria to make sure that we are successful.”
Mikel missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to club commitment, and the 29-year-old believes this being his first Games will not be a disadvantage.
“I don’t think it will be a disadvantage. I think leadership is either you have it or you don’t. Sometimes, people grow into leadership and sometimes people are born with leadership qualities.