• I’m ready for Toure in midfield battle –Chelsea player
From KUNLE SOLAJA, Johannesburg
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) yesterday morning confirmed Daily Sun story that Mikel Obi is eligible to play for the Super Eagles in the crunchy quarter-finals match against the Elephant of Cote d’Ivoire. At a joint press briefing of CAF and the Local Organizing Committee of South Africa 20013 held in the sumptuous Sandton Sun Hotel, Johannesburg, the General Secretary of CAF, Hicham El Amrani, cleared the air, affirming that Mikel Obi is eligible for the match.
Also, as reported by Daily Sun, it is Fegor Ogude who will miss the encounter. Just before the Super Eagles commenced Wednesday’s training at the Olympic Park Stadium, Coach Stephen Keshi was shocked when Soccer Star dropped the hint to him that Ogude would miss the Cote d’Ivoire match. “Has he been given two yellow cards?” he asked in surprise. Speculations were rife Tuesday night when some international journalists claimed that Mikel was out of tomorrow’s game.
But The Sun held a different position, even when the centre’s media chief, Emmanuel Maradas, claimed he was not sure of the situation. A call to the CAF’s situation office by The Sun confirmed that Mikel had just a yellow card and it was in the game against Ethiopia. The CAF General Secretary yesterday morning reeled out the five players who had obtained two yellow cards and would therefore, miss this weekend’s quarter-finals.
Apart from Nigeria’s Fegor Ogude, the others are South Africa’s Anele Ngcongca, Samassa Mahamadou and duo of Togolese players: Dare Nibombe and Jonathan Ayite. The other players who obtained a yellow card will have a new beginning from the quarter finals stage as the cards are not to be carried over. Meanwhile, Mikel Obi has expressed relief that CAF cleared him for tomorrow’s match. Looking relaxed and in company of roommate, Victor Moses, Mikel said he was hurt when it was reported that he had picked up two yellow cards.
“I am the one that is always at the receiving end of hard tackles and I knew that I had only one yellow card, but the media was going about it that I have two. I was a little confused, but now I’m happy and relieved and ready for the match. “I know that Africa wants the best of both countries in the quarter-final and personally I’m looking forward to the midfield battle against Ivorien Yahya Toure, that will be one good spectacle that Africans will like to see and I know that Toure is also relishing it,” Team Coach, Keshi, said he was a bit alarmed by reports that Nigerians had written off the Super Eagles in the game against the Ivoriens
. “It’s at this point that we need the total support of all Nigerians and I must urge them not to detract from that. Names don’t play football and our players are ready to give their all in the game against Ivory Coast,” he said.