Nigerian midfielder Mikel Obi is easily the country’s most recognisable footballer at the moment, although majority of his countrymen will be surprised at just how little they know about him.
Generally referred to as John Obi Mikel, the Chelsea midfielder was actually born John Michael Nchekwube Obinna, but a mistake by the NFF, then NFA (Nigeria Football Association) in 2003 left us with the moniker we’ve come to associate the player with.
During the registration process for the 2003 Fifa Under-17 World Championships in Finland, the NFA had mistakenly submitted ‘Michael’ as ‘Mikel’.
It turned out to be a disappointing tournament for Augustine Eguavoen and the lads as the Golden Eaglets exited at the group stage after a toss of coin. Mikel, however, was the shining light in the team and he’s been ever-present since.
The former Lyn Oslo midfielder says the mistake had a “special ring to it,” and on joining Chelsea in 2006 he maintained it, going by the name ‘Mikel John Obi’.
The 29-year-old midfielder, who is presently with the Nigeria U23 team at the Rio Olympics, has now decided to officially change his full name to “Mikel John Obi”, Standard writes.
He remains one of the most successful Nigerian footballers having won two Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Europa League and four FA Cups at Stamford Bridge, as well as lifting the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2013.
Nigeria and Chelsea fans need not worry however, as he remains Mikel/10 and Mikel/12 for both sides respectively.Nigeria and Chelsea fans need not worry however, as he remains Mikel/10 and Mikel/12 for both sides respectively.-