Mikel Obi: Super Eagles legend declares Nigeria's AFCON13 victory his biggest achievement

Mikel Obi with the AFCON 13 title in South Africa. (Photo Credit: Imago)

Mikel Obi: Super Eagles legend declares Nigeria's AFCON13 victory his biggest achievement

Izuchukwu Akawor 12:05 - 24.10.2023

Nigeria Super Eagles icon John Mikel Obi believes that winning with the national team is difficult.

In a career spanning over a decade and marked by numerous unforgettable moments, former Super Eagles captain and icon, John Obi Mikel, has declared the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, victory with Nigeria as his proudest achievement. 

Mikel Obi made this comment during a lunch date for his recently concluded Back2Base Novelty match held at Radisson Blu, Lagos State, on Monday.

Mikel Obi on AFCON 2013

Obi’s illustrious football journey has seen him excel at both club and international levels. He was a pivotal figure at Chelsea, Tianjin Teda, Trabzonspor and Middlesbrough, amassing a collection of titles and individual honours. 

However, it’s not club success or individual awards that Mikel highlights as his crowning glory; it’s the collective achievement with the national team, the Super Eagles, in the 2013 AFCON tournament that holds a special place in his heart.

Mikel Obi celebrates with his teammate in South Africa.
Mikel Obi celebrates with his teammate in South Africa. (Photo Credit: NPFL Updates/Facebook)

Speaking during the lunch date, Mikel explained why lifting the title with the Super Eagles remains one of the biggest moments of his life. 

“One of my biggest achievements as a player was winning the AFCON with Nigeria because it’s always difficult to win with the national team, very, very difficult,” Mikel Obi said.

“The likes of Didier Drogba, my close friend, one of the greatest to have played the game, but he didn’t manage to win with the national team. George Weah, I think also the same thing.”

Mikel Obi holds the coveted AFCON trophy.
Mikel Obi holds the coveted AFCON trophy. (Photo Credit: Imago)

“So, you look at these great guys, it is so difficult to win with your national team because our football is so much difficult - physicality and everything.”

On Playing for Nigeria

The 2013 AFCON was a memorable competition for Nigeria, and Mikel Obi was at the forefront and heart of the Super Eagles’ campaign.

Mikel voiced his belief that the Super Eagles had a solid chance of winning the AFCON championship. Instagram/Mikel Obi

His composure, leadership, and exceptional midfield skills played a crucial role in Nigeria’s journey to the AFCON final.

AFCON 2013, held in the rainbow nation of South Africa, brought together the continent’s best footballing nations, and the Super Eagles, under the guidance of the late Stephen Keshi, faced stiff competition from the likes of Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

Mikel’s performances and his ability to control midfield were instrumental in Nigeria’s success as the Super Eagles defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 in a hard-fought win, with Sunday Mba, the hero of the final after his sublime strike.

The AFCON win was not just about the trophy, it was about the unity and pride it instilled in the Nigerian team and the nation as a whole. Mikel’s declaration is also a testament to the importance of international success and the immense sense of patriotism and fulfilment it brings.

Mikel Obi says the AFCON win is one of his biggest achievements. (Photo Credit: Imago)

Mikel’s love for his country and the significance of the win in South Africa resonate with fans and football lovers in the country. 

It also serves as a reminder that for many players, representing their nation and achieving success with the national team is the ultimate honour and source of lasting pride as Obi alluded further.

Mikel Obi is a former Super Eagles captain. (Photo Credit: Imago)

“When we managed to win the AFCON 2013, it was one of the best moments in my life,” he added. 

“Always know that, to play for the national team and win is as special and great as winning for any club abroad. So, whatever you do, don’t forget home is home.”

As the Nigeria Super Eagles icon reflects on his remarkable career, the 2013 AFCON victory represents a symbol of his dedication to the national team and impact on Nigerian football. 

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