Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has named two players who impressed him during the team’s pre-Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match against Zimbabwe this past weekend.
The Super Eagles and the Warriors played out a goalless stalemate in their friendly game in Asaba on Saturday, as both prepare for the AFCON tournament which gets underway in less than two weeks’ time.
Mikel, who has returned to the team after a year’s absence, believes Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze and Bordeaux’s Samuel Kalu are quality players who could thrive at the AFCON, though he admits they are not the finished articles just yet.
“The coach has invited the players that will do the job for us. It is a very good blend of young and experience. Like the coach said, we needed a little bit of experience – Shehu [Abdullahi] and [Odion] Ighalo were not on the pitch,” Mikel said at the post match press conference.
“I think it is also good for the young players to play this game, you know Chukwueze, Kalu, you could see a bit of flashes of talent. They are very good players.
”I think we will work on when to run with the ball, when not to run, when to pass, but you could see the talent is there for them. I think they can do great things in this Nations Cup.
”We just have to keep talking to them, we the senior players, the coaches and hopefully we will have a very good plan in the Nations Cup and do great things.”
Nigeria open their AFCON campaign with a clash against Burundi in Alexandria on June 22.