By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Super Eagles stars, John Mikel Obi and Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi who have been invited for Nigeria’s 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Congo DR and South Africa will come face to face, not as comrades fighting for their country, but as rival players when the group stage of the UEFA Champions League kicks off beginning from September.
Chelsea, Mikel’s English Premier League club were grouped alongside German Bundesliga side, Schalke 04 in Thursday’s draw for the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition held in Monaco, France
Both teams were pooled in Group G alongside Sporting Lisbon and NK Maribor.
In Group C, Elderson Uwa Echiejile’s Monaco will play against Benfica, Zenit St Petersbrough and Bayer Leverkusen.
Former Flying Eagles midfielder Michael Olaitan who collapsed during a league game for his Greek side, Olympiakos last season will play superstars from Athletico Madrid and Juventus and including those from Swedish outfit, Malmo FF, in Group A.
Former Golden Eaglets star Kelechi Iheanacho’s future at Manchester City is not yet certain but if the youngster is granted a work permit, enabling him to play for the English champions, he could get a rare chance to play in Group E against Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and AS Roma.
Iheanacho’s teammate at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013, Chidera Ezeh plays for the youth team of FC Porto and the Portuguese giants were pooled with Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletico Bilbao and BATE BOrisov in Group H.
It remains to be seen if the young Ezeh could play in perhaps an inconsequential game for the team if they make the knock out stages before the last round of games in the group.
The event of Thursday evening was rounded off with the award of Europe’s best player for the 2013/14 season to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Draw for the group stage of the Europa League will hold on Friday afternoon.