U-23 Eagles captain, Mikel Obi, has finally formalised his change of name after the Nigeria Football Federation mistakenly changed his name to Mikel on the submission form for the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championships and the name stuck.
The midfielder who was born John Michael Nchekwube Obinna, has changed his name to Mikel John Obi.
The holding midfielder is now hoping to impress his new manager, Antonio Conte, in order to secure a contract extension with Chelsea.
“I want to help the team fight for every point, every win and to win trophies,” Mikel told Sky Sports. “I also want to help the team qualify for the Champions League again as soon as possible.
“For 10 years I have been going to the same training ground, the same locker room. It is an amazing club, with an amazing owner. They are like a family to me. It is a place that has become a part of me.
“I have a year left and then we will see what happens. If I play well this season, it will help me earn a new contract.
Meanwhile, Mikel believes he can lead the U-23 Eagles to winning gold in Rio while drawing inspiration from the
heroes of Nigeria’s 1996 Olympic team that won gold.
“Watching Nigeria beat Brazil in the semi-final and then Argentina in the final really inspired me,” Obi told Standard Sport. “I was just kicking a football around for fun back then in the streets. But after seeing Nigeria win the gold medal, I changed.
“I realised that football is amazing and you can do something incredible. All my friends and everyone around me could talk about was the final. We kept playing football. We kept getting into trouble with our parents for not coming back early, for playing football rather than doing our homework.
“The 1996 team inspired me and my friends and I’d like to do the same thing for the current generation at home.”
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