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Sunday, 15 January 2017

John Mikel Obi: The Boy that Never Became a Man

All these attempts to pass off Mikel as a legend is just laughable. Mikel is neither a legend at club level or at national team level. At club and national level, he could be missing and the show would still go on. Whatever legendary status he almost had perished with his performance as one of Siasia's young talents. After that, his career never really picked up.
When he joined Chelsea, we all had high hopes for him. But he never grew up. He became that benchwarmer who was only used when a player was injured or when a new signing was taking too long to adapt to the style of play. That's not a legend.
Claiming he won 10 trophies and played over 400 games for Chelsea. That's a deliberate attempt to pull wool over our eyes. Mikel won 10 trophies with Chelsea from the bench. Out of the 400 games, how many did he start? He would be brought in with 3 minutes left and used to do the dirty jobs and collect the yellow or reds cards that real players, first team players, players that matter to the club and whose absence would be felt by the club cannot be allowed to do/collect.
When you place Mikel side by side Chelsea legends, or even the average ones, he can't stand beside them. How many years did Ballack spend in Chelsea? Chelsea fans have fond memories of him. Ask Chelsea fans, not the bias Nigerian fans o, to name their fond memories of Mikel, nothing. No brilliant moment. No brilliant dribble. No brilliant passes. No brilliant defensive work. Nothing. And that is your legend?
Come home to the national team, place Mikel side by side Nigerian greats. He can't stand. He has no claim to any legendary status. He's just another below par footballer who was fortunate enough to be born in a country where talent and legend have become bastardized words. Okocha is a legend. He played many years in England. Was Bolton captain and the fans still have fond memories of him. At home, he still brings it even at his age. Kanu is a legend. Played in Europe, played for Arsenal. For the national team, when Kanu enters, miracles happen. Yobo is a legend. Brilliant defender. Played for Everton. Was Everton captain. Fans still remember him. Even if he sometimes faltered at home, we still have brilliant moments to point to. Osaze Odewingie. Yes. I said it. Brilliant dude. Maybe not a legend but I will place him ahead of Mikel any time any day.
Mikel's continued selection in the national team is not so much as for his talent than for the fact that he plays for a big team. He was a small fish in a big river and he was content to be that. No ambition. As long as alert dey enter and I dey do business for house, make I no play, e no matter. Ise kekere, owo nla.
His move to China is the best. He has always been below par and he will fit in to China. Well, until the Chinese gets tired of his back passes and ko ma towo mi baje (it shouldn't spoil in my hand) style of play. Already he has scored a goal. I am sure he will shatter his all-time goalscoring record in China. But until then, don't join them to desecrate the meaning of legend by giving Mikel such a tag.

James Ogunjimi

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