Uproar as Mikel is Named Team Nigeria Captain to Rio 2016
The surprise announcement by Sports Minister Solomon Dalung that John Obi Mikel is captain of Team Nigeria to the Rio 2016 Olympics hasn’t gone down well with the sporting community.
Mikel, 29, will be making his first appearance at the Games after being named as one of two overage players by U23 coach Samson Siasia, and stakeholders have expressed shock at his elevation ahead of veteran Olympians, Vanguard reports.
Immediate past spokesman of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Tony Nezianya, faulted the appointment of a footballer for the role, before adding that the Super Eagles skipper is a newcomer to the Olympic family and therefore, not qualified for such a revered position in the team.
“I must tell you that I find Mikel’s appointment controversial. He has just come into the team and there is Segun Toriola, a veteran of the Games, who is breaking an African record of having attended the most number of Olympic Games.
“With Rio Olympics, he will be making his seventh consecutive Olympics. He should have been given that honour with the captaincy of Team Nigeria instead of creating an unnecessary controversy.”
Another journalist, Ganiyu Oloyede, said the minister went too far.
“When I saw the release I thought that he was named the captain of the dream team. Haba minister! A player who refused to play in Beijing Olympics when we needed him most. I don’t think he deserves that responsibility.”
Basketball coach, Adeka Daudu, also faulted the call by Dalung, buttressing his point with a quote from the Holy Bible Bible. “God said in the Bible, that my people perish for lack of knowledge. May it not be our portion”.
While sports enthusiast, Simon Olajide, went as far as calling for the immediate sack of the Sports Minister.
“We need to change our minister of sports, the man knows nothing about sports. Let’s join hands and change the man.”
Mikel will bear Nigeria’s flag at the Games which begin August 5.
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