Keshi who spoke through Team Scribe, Dayo Enebi Achor, said Mikel was injured even before he set out for Nigeria for the encounter but out of patriotism he offered to play the World Cup qualifier against Malawi. The doctors of the national team also passed him fit but not 100 per cent.
“In the early part of the game the calf injury nearly recurred but when the doctors signalled to him over what the situation was, he offered to continue the game. But after the game we had to review the situation and ask him to go for proper treatment at his club before their next game, instead of risking him against Burkina Faso in the friendly”, Keshi explained. The coach also said there was never any form of dissent from any member of the national team when Mike was excused and wondered where such stories are emanating from.
On his part, Mikel said he has never chosen games to play for the national team but has been ruled by the coaches choices and patriotism. “It’s sad if people hold such views about me but I am and will always be glad to play for Nigeria. But there is nothing I can do if I am injured and I am sure that Nigerians understand that fact. My teammates also understand because many of them have been excused from the team in the recent past on account of injuries”.