John Mikel Obi

John Michael Nchekwube Obinna who is popularly known as John Obi Mikel or Mikel John Obi was born on April 22, 1987. He is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for both English club Chelsea and the Nigeria national team. He is the son of Michael Obi, a transporter of the Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria.

The name Mikel was adopted by John Micheal Nchekwube Obi, when during the preparations for the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championships, the Nigerian Football Association mistakenly submitted “Michael” as “Mikel” for the tournament in Finland. He, from that moment, decided to keep the new name, saying that it had a special ring to it.

Mikel Obi started his football career when he was twelve years old and was identified and selected from among 3000 talented young footballers to play in Pepsi Football Academy. He then played for Plateau United, a foothball club that also produced football professionals like Celestine Babayaro, Chris Obodo, Victor Obinna and many others. He later joined the Nigerian National team, playing at the FIFA Under-17 World Championships, a tournament that held in Finland. Subsequently. Mikel proceeded on trial to South Africa club Ajax Cape Town, before later joining Lyn in Norway. 

In the year 2005, Mikel played for Nigeria at the FIFA World Youth Championships which held in the Netherlands. At the end of the the tournament, he won the Silver Ball after being voted the tournament’s second best player.

Mikel played with the Nigeria’ s under-20 football team during the 2005

World Youth Championship and won the Silver Ball as the second-best player in the tournament (behind Lionel Messi) as the Africans finished runner-up to Argentina. 

On August 17, 2005 Mikel made his debut for the Nigeria senior team after he came in as a second-half substitute in a match between Nigeria and Libya,  a game Nigeria eventually won.

Mikel also made his FIFA World Cup debut during the 2014 tournament in Brazil, after the game, he was named the man of the match.

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