Creative midfield maestro John Mikel Obi Thursday earned five stars as former Abia state governor Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu tipped him for the Golden Ball trophy, with the sobriquet "Field Marshall" of the ongoing Nations’ Cup.
Kalu said,"Mikel Obi is a silent killer, in the field he puts on no airs, his touches are pinpoint, the young man is the hub of the Eagles. Yet he carries everybody along. If the Nations Cup were another World War, I would call him Field Marshall Montgomery. I see a crown on his head as the Most Valuable Player of this tournament."
The ex-governor praised the Ivorian Elephants for giving honour to Mikel in particular, and the Nigerian team in general, despite their quarter-finals elimination by the Eagles. "Kudos to Cheik Tiote,Didier Drogba and Lassina Traore. They admitted Nigeria’s superiority in the game. Tiote singled out Mikel for cutting off balls to Drogba and Yaya Toure. Mikel was so effective in the middle that Almighty Cote D’Ivoire looked like fish out of water. I give credit to all the Eagles as well, for a job well done," Kalu added.
He expressed disappontment over Ghana’s loss to Burkina Faso, since his dream was for Nigeria to meet the Black Stars in the final to create a Nations Cup grand-finale record. "Ghana made me sad," Kalu explained. "I wanted Nigeria to meet them in the final. You know, The Black Stars mean badluck to us in the Nations Cup, win or lose. Anytime we played them, we never won the trophy. This present bunch of Eagles would have spelt Accra or even Kumasi if our parts crossed in the last game."
Yes indeed. Seven times Nigeria met Ghana - 1978,1984,1992, 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Three wins [2-1 at Cote D'Ivoire' 84, 1-0 Mali' 2002, 1-0 Egypt' 2006], three losses [1-2 Senegal' 92, 1-2 Ghana' 2008, 0-1 Angola' 2010] and one draw [Ghana' 78]. That is the story. In those competitions, the Eagles did not win the Cup.