For the third international game in a row, Chelsea legend John Obi Mikel will not suit up for the Super Eagles, with manager Gernot Rohr omitting him from the roster for this month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya. The central midfielder’s last appearance for the Super Eagles was a 2-1 loss to an Argentinean side, parading arguably the best player on the planet, Lionel Messi, on June 26 at the 2018 World Cup.
Recollecting the events of the game at Saint-Petersburg Arena, Mikel has insisted that the Super Eagles would have won the game and qualified for the last sixteen if Turkish referee Cüneyt Cakir had awarded a penalty to the three-time African champions in the second half after a handball by Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo.
Speaking to China Central Television ‘Football Night’ on October 1, Mikel said : ‘’When we played against Argentina, we did a good job until the 86th minute, but we still lost. ‘’At this time I have to look for strength from other places. This is a very difficult time. I am very upset on the pitch, but I have to find the motivation.’’ The former Chelsea star added : ‘’Until today, I still think that we could have won that game if we got the penalty. I think the referee was unfair. We could have won the game, but the game is over. ‘’Argentina is great. Messi is also the best player in the world, but I hope we can beat Argentina next time.’’ Mikel concluded by saying that he wants to remain at Tianjin Teda for as long as possible as he’s happy in China amid speculation linking him with a departure in the January transfer window.