5th October, 2011
Chelsea of London star, John Mikel Obi, has joined his teammates at their Abuja camp as Nigeria prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea at the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday.
Coach Samson Siasia yesterday fined Mikel $5,000 for missing the deadline to report to the camp. All players were expected to show up by lunchtime yesterday, but Mikel called to inform officials that he would only come in today as he needed time to attend to family matters.
A report monitored on Brila FM says Mikel breezed in to the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja where the team were camped by 6:10a.m. According to the report, the Chelsea star came in company of one of his brothers and a friend. He, however, refused to speak with the press before entering the lobby of the hotel.
The arrival of Mikel gave Siasia the opportunity to train with the full complement of his squad this afternoon.
Siasia has said that the fine slammed on Mikel was to show his displeasure over the playerâ€™s action and as a warning to other players in the team. He added that Mikel remains an integral part of his squad despite what had happened.
Meanwhile, Captain Joseph Yobo and striker, Osaze Odemwingie, have called on Nigerians to make the Abuja National Stadium an intimidating arena in the match against Guinea on Saturday.
The Eagles need a convincing win to spare the fans heartache during the game; even though a 1-0 victory will suffice, and Yobo says the task will be easier if the fans do their part.
â€œWe want to appeal to the fans to come and make the job easier for us,â€ Yobo said, adding â€œThey have to make the stadium an intimidating place for the Guineans by filling up the stadium at least two hours before the game.
â€œWe donâ€™t want a violent atmosphere, we just want the whole stadium to be a sea of green and white so that when they walk in, theyâ€™ll know that they are playing not only the players on the field, but the fans too.â€
Striker Odemwingie echoed his skipperâ€™s words: â€œI think we as players have shown how committed we are to this game by the way everyone has reported to camp just a day after the coach opened camp.
â€œEven Efe Ambrose, who got married on Saturday, has left his young wife and is here to serve his country.”