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Super Eagles’ skipper, Mikel Obi is on the threshold of getting into the prestigious FIFA Century Club, an exclusive assembly of players who have made at least 100 international appearances.

With strong indications that Mikel will be featured in Friday’s game with Algeria, Sports Village Square can declare that he will be making his 80th appearance in proper grade A match for Nigeria.

Twenty more matches including the scheduled one with Argentina next week, other pre World Cup friendly matches and at least the three group games at Russia 2018, Mikel Obi may just clock 100 caps.

If fielded in Friday’s match with Algeria, Mikel will be, the fourth most capped Nigerian international after those of Vincent Enyeama (101 caps), Joseph Yobo (100) and the late Muda Lawal (86).


Incidentally, all those with over 80 international appearances have been captains of the Nigerian team.

Mikel made his international debut when he came in as a substitute for Chris Obodo in an August 17, 2005 friendly match with Libya in Tripoli. It was a trial match ahead of a 2006 World Cup qualifying match with Algeria, in Oran.

He also came in as a substitute for Wilson Oruma in Nigeria’s second group game with Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nation duel in Port Said, Egypt on January 27, 2006.

His introduction was impactful as he almost immediately doubled Nigeria’s lead, scoring his first international goal. Apart from featuring in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations quarter finals duel with Tunisia in Port Said, Mikel continued to make cameo appearances in the Super Eagles until disastrous 1-4 loss to Ghana in a friendly match on February 6, 2007 in London.

That was the last match for Austin Eguavoen as the team manager. He stepped aside for Germany’s Berti Vogts who watched from the side lines and signed his contract two days later.


In his 79 matches so far, he played as substitute or was substituted 18 times.

To his credit, Mikel has played all tiers of national team football for Nigeria and participated in all FIFA final competitions. Staring with 2003 Under 17 World Cup in Finland, the U-20 in the Netherlands in 2005, the Under 23 football tournament of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016, the FIFA Confederation Cup in Brazil 2013, the FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014 as well as featuring for Chelsea in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2012.

Though a midfielder, he scored six goals for Nigeria in the 79 matches he has played so far.






  1. August 17, 2005 (F-Tripoli) LIBYA 0 – 1 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. January 27, 2006 (AFCON-Port Said) ZIMBABWE 0 – 2 NIGERIA. (sub) 1 goal


  1. February 4, 2006 (AFCON-Port Said) TUNISIA 1 – 1  NIGERIA  * 5-6 pens


  1. February 7, 2006 (AFCON-Alexandria) COTE D’IVOIRE 1 – 0 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. September 2, 2006 (AFCONq-Abuja) NIGERIA 2 – 0 NIGER. (sub)


  1. February 6, 2007 (F-London) GHANA 4 – 1 NIGERIA.


  1. March 24, 2007 (AFCONq-Abeokuta) NIGERIA 1 – 0 UGANDA.


  1. September 8, 2007 (AFCONq- Warri) NIGERIA 2 – 0 LESOTHO.


  1. October 14, 2007 (F- Mexico City) MEXICO 2 – 2 NIGERIA.


  1. January 21, 2008 (AFCON- Sekondi) COTE D’IVOIRE 1 – 0 NIGERIA.


  1. January 25, 2008 (AFCON- Sekondi) MALI 0 – 0 NIGERIA.


  1. January 29, 2008 (AFCON- Sekondi) BENIN 0 – 2 NIGERIA. (1 goal)


  1. February 3, 2008 (AFCON- Accra) GHANA 2 – 1 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. May 27, 2008 (F- Graz) AUSTRIA 1 – 1 NIGERIA.


  1. June 1, 2008 (WCq- Abuja) NIGERIA 2 – 0 SOUTH AFRICA.


  1. June 7, 2008 (WCq-Freetown) SIERRA LEONE 0 – 1 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. June 21, 2008 (WCq- Abuja) NIGERIA 2 – 0 EQUATORIAL GUINEA. (sub)


  1. February 11, 2009 (F-London) JAMAICA 0 – 0 NIGERIA.


  1. March 29, 2009 (WCq-Maputo) MOZAMBIQUE 0 -0 NIGERIA.


  1. June 20, 2009 (WCq-Rades) TUNISIA 0 -0 NIGERIA


  1. September 6, 2009 (WCq-Abuja) NIGERIA 2 – 2  TUNISIA


  1. November 14, 2009 (WCq-Nairobi) KENYA 2 – 3 NIGERIA.


  1. January 6, 2010 (F- Durban) ZAMBIA 0 – 0 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. January 12, 2010 (AFCON- Benguela) EGYPT 3 – 1 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. January 16, 2010 (AFCON- Benguela) BENIN 0 – 1 NIGERIA.


  1. January 20, 2010 (AFCON- Lubango) MOZAMBIQUE 0 – 3 NIGERIA.


  1. January 25, 2010 (AFCON- Lubango) ZAMBIA 0 – 0 NIGERIA (aet) 4-5 pens


  1. January 28. 2010 (AFCON- Luanda) GHANA 1 – 0 NIGERIA.


  1. January 30, 2010 (AFCON- Benguela) ALGERIA 0 – 1 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. September 5, 2010 (AFCONq – Calabar) NIGERIA 2- 0 MADAGASCAR (sub)


  1. March 29, 2011 (F- Abuja) NIGERIA 3- 0 KENYA


  1. June 1, 2011 ( F- Abuja) NIGERIA 4- 1 ARGENTINA


  1. June 5, 2011 ( AFCONq- Addis Ababa)  ETHIOPIA 2-2 NIGERIA


  1. September 3, 2011 (AFCONq- Antananarivo) MADAGASCAR 0-2 NIGERIA


  1. September 6, 2011 ( F- Dhaka) ARGENTINA 3-1 NIGERIA (sub)


  1. October 8, 2011 ( AFCONq-Abuja) NIGERIA 2-2 GUINEA


  1. October 11, 2011 (F-London) NIGERIA 0-0 GHANA (sub)


  1. October 13, 2012 (AFCONq – Calabar) NIGERIA 6-1 LIBERIA (1 goal pen)


  1. January 9, 2013 (F – Faro) CAPE VERDE 0-0 NIGERIA


  1. January 21, 2013 (AFCON – Nelspruit) BURKINA FASO 1-1 NIGERIA


  1. January 25, 2013 (AFCON – Nelspruit) ZAMBIA 1-1 NIGERIA


  1. January 29, 2013 (AFCON – Rustenburg) ETHIOPIA 0-2 NIGERIA(sub)


  1. February 3, 2013 (AFCON – Rustenburg) COTE D’IVOIRE 1-2 NIGERIA


  1. February 6, 2013 (AFCON – Durban) MALI 1-4 NIGERIA



  1. February 10, 2013 (AFCON –  J’burg) BURKINA FASO 0-1 NIGERIA


  1. March 23, 2013 (WCq- Calabar) NIGERIA 1-1 KENYA


  1. June 5, 2013 (WCq – Nairobi) KENYA 0-1 NIGERIA


  1. June 12, 2013 (WCq- Windhoek) NAMIBIA 1-1 NIGERIA


  1. June 17, 2013 (Confed – Belo Horizonte) TAHITI 1-6 NIGERIA


  1. June 20, 2013 (Confed – Salvador) URUGUAY 2-1 NIGERIA (1 goal)


  1. June 23, 2013 (Confed – Fortaleza) SPAIN 3-0 NIGERIA


  1. September 7, 2013 (WCq – Calabar) NIGERIA 2-0 MALAWI


  1. October 13, 2013 (WCq- Addis Ababa) ETHIOPIA 1-2 NIGERIA


  1. November 16, 2013 (WCq- Calabar) NIGERIA 2-0 ETHIOPIA


  1. November 18, 2013 (F- London) ITALY 2-2 NIGERIA


  1. March 6, 2014(F- Georgia) MEXICO 0-0 NIGERIA


  1. June 4, 2014 (F- Pennsylvania) GREECE 0-0 NIGERIA


  1. June 7, 2014 (F- Florida) USA 2-1 NIGERIA (sub)


  1. n June 16, 2014 (WC- Curitiba) IRAN 0-0 NIGERIA


  1. June 21. 2014 (WC- Cuiaba) BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA 0-1 NIGERIA


  1. June 25, 2014 (WC-Porto Alegre) ARGENTINA 3-2 NIGERIA


  1. June 30, 2014 (WC- Brasilia) FRANCE 2-0 NIGERIA


  1. September 6, 2014 (AFCONq- Calabar) NIGERIA 2-3 CONGO


  1. September 10, 2014 (AFCONq- Cape Town) SOUTH AFRICA 0-0 NIGERIA


  1. October 11, 2014 (AFCONq – Khartoum) SUDAN 1-0 NIGERIA


  1. October 15. 2014 (AFCONq – Abuja) NIGERIA 3-1 SUDAN


  1. November 15, 2014 (AFCONq- Pointe Noire) CONGO 0-2 NIGERIA


  1. November 19, 2014 (AFCONq- Uyo) NIGERIA 2-2 SOUTH AFRICA


  1. October 8, 2015 (F- Vise, Belgium) DR CONGO 2-0 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. October 11, 2015 (F-Vise, Belgium) CAMEROON 0-3 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. November 13, 2015 (WCq- Lobamba) SWAZILAND 0-0 NIGERIA. (sub)


  1. March 25, 2016 (AFCONq- Kaduna) NIGERIA 1-1 EGYPT.


  1. March 29, 2016 (AFCONq- Alexandria) EGYPT 1-0 NIGERIA.


  1. September 3, 2016 (AFCONq -Uyo) NIGERIA 1-0 TANZANIA. (sub)


  1. October 9, 2016 (WCq -Ndola) ZAMBIA 1-2 NIGERIA.


  1. November 12, 2016 (WCq -Uyo) NIGERIA 3-1 ALGERIA. (sub, 1 goal)


  1. September 1, 2017 (WCq -Uyo) NIGERIA 4-0 CAMEROON (sub, 1 goal)


  1. September 4, 2017 (WCq -Yaoundé) CAMEROON 1-1 NIGERIA


  1. October 7, 2017 (WCq -Uyo) NIGERIA 1-0 ZAMBIA




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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International Football

Grudgingly, Eto’o accepts new Cameroon coach Brys, but fails to attend ceremony



Cameroon’s new coach Marc Brys penned a contract on Monday but the Belgian’s appointment by the government remains contentious as the football federation did not attend the signing ceremony.

Brys has been handed a 2-1/2-year contract by Cameroon’s sports ministry but the federation (FECAFOOT) was conspicuous by its absence at the event in Yaounde.

Last week, FECAFOOT criticised the unilateral decision of sports minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombito to appoint the 61-year-old Brys, who has no prior experience as a national team coach and has not previously worked on the African continent.

FECAFOOT president Samuel Eto’o issued a statement on Monday, excusing himself from the unveiling event.

“We thank you for inviting us to the ceremony. Following this, we inform you of the fact that we received the letter two hours before the said ceremony,” wrote Eto’o.


“Unfortunately, we are busy organising the funeral of our late Dad, and for this reason we will not be able to attend presence at the ceremony.”

His father’s funeral is to be held at the weekend.

Eto’o balked at Brys’ appointment and is now in a deepening standoff with the minister.

In Cameroon, the government has long paid the salary of the national team coach and therefore held powerful sway over FECAFOOT’s affairs, even if such state interference is frowned upon by world football’s governing body FIFA.

Any heightened dispute risks a potential ban from international competition for Cameroon, one of the heavyweights of African football.


FECAFOOT held an emergency meeting on Saturday and asked Eto’o to propose an alternative coach for the national team.

Earlier on the weekend, the minister had defended the appointment, saying he had acted in accordance with national and international regulations.

In a letter to FECAFOOT, Kombi said his ministry’s appointment of coaching staff “in no way affects the autonomy of FECAFOOT and does not violate any of the ‘supranational regulations”.

He said FECAFOOT had suggested three candidates to the ministry but their salary demands ranged between 1.5 million euros and 2.5 million euros ($1.63 million and $2.71 million) per year.

“These are excessive amounts never paid to any coach in the history of the Indomitable Lions,” Kombi said.



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International Football

Cameroon FA to propose national coach after emergency meeting –



BREAKING! Turmoil In Cameroon Federation Over Naming Of New National Coach Brys -

Cameroon’s football federation (FECAFOOT) held an emergency meeting on Saturday and asked its president to propose an alternative coach for the national team, deepening a standoff with the sports ministry.

FECAFOOT on Wednesday accused the ministry of unilaterally appointing Belgian Marc Brys as coach and other staff to manage the Indomitable Lions, who are five-times African champions.

The dispute risks a potential ban from international competition as world soccer’s governing body FIFA has strict rules against government interference in national federations.

In a statement, FECAFOOT said its emergency committee had met on Saturday and unanimously confirmed that the federation had not been involved in the appointments in alleged contravention of regulations.

As a result, it asked its president Samuel Eto’o to propose a national coach and other management staff for the national side within 72 hours.


Responding to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the ministry said the result of the FECAFOOT meeting was “an appeal. It is not yet a decision.”

On Friday, Sports Minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombi wrote to FECAFOOT to defend the coaching appointments, which he said were in accordance with national and international rules.

In a letter seen by Reuters, Kombi said the ministry’s move “in no way affects the autonomy of FECAFOOT and does not violate any of the ‘supranational regulations’.”

A spokesperson for the ministry confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

Kombi’s letter also said the salaries requested by three candidates earlier proposed by the federation for the position of coach ranged between 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) and 2.5 million euros per year.


“These are excessive amounts never paid to any coach in the history of the Indomitable Lions,” Kombi said.

FECAFOOT did not respond to a request for comment on the letter.





BREAKING! Turmoil in Cameroon federation over naming of new national coach Brys.

Soccer Cameroon appoint Brys as new head coach


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International Football

National team and club-mate Owolabi commiserates with grief-stricken Odegbami –



National team and club-mate Owolabi commiserates with grief-stricken Odegbami -

Powerful left-wing back in his playing days, Felix Owolabi has expressed great grief over the loss of a son of former teammate, Segun Odegbami.

Both Felix Owolabi and Odegbami share common traits as the earliest tertiary institution footballers featuring for clubs and the national team.

While Odegbami was a mechanical engineering student at The Ibadan Polytechnic, Owolabi was an undergraduate at the University of Lagos.

Both were players of the then rampaging IICC Shooting Stars and the Africa Cup of Nations winning team of 1980. The crucial goals that won the cup for Nigeria were scored by the duo.

While Owolabi’s goal against Morocco sent Nigeria to the Africa Cup of Nations final match for the first time, Odegbami’s two goals in the final against Algeria put a stamp of definity to Nigeria’s victory before another club-mate Muda Lawal put in the third.


“We have come a long way”, remarked Owolabi in a message to the Sports Village Square  Thursday morning.

“I have just arrived from Morocco on a national assignment trying to adjust and deal with the extreme and gruelling hot weather here in Nigeria when I got the sad news of the sudden death of the son of my dear brother and senior colleague Dr Olusegun Odegbami.


“Hearing the death of Oluwagbeminiyi Omo Odegbami,  I paused for a moment and did not know what to say.

“All the media both print and electronics carried it as a breaking news.


“And that was when it dawned on me that I had to call ‘Big Sheg’ as he is fondly called by me.

“His authoritative confirmation about it dealt a blow on me and put me total darkness.What would have happened to this our vibrant and such an enterprising Oluwagbeminiyi?

“Why would death be so so wicked to suddenly take this gentleman away from us without notice. Going on a journey that he will need not to look at anybody, an eternal journey till Christ come.

“My heart and  that of my entire family are with you and the rest of the family”, remarked Owolabi.

“It is well. I pray that God grant him eternal rest. I pray also that the almighty God grant you the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Today the death of Oluwagbeminiyi has made me to believe and conclude that death is real and it is universal





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