Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi has blamed the Super Eagles for not doing enough to qualify for the on-going AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.
Defending champions Nigeria crashed out on the final day of the qualifying tournament when they forced South Africa to a 2-2 draw at home in a match they needed to win and closest rivals Congo won in Sudan to qualify ahead of them.
“We as players know we could have done more, and especially in the match against South Africa which we needed to win at home. But that is history now. We have learnt from it. We hope the authorities will also learn from it and we can get better,” said the Chelsea star.
“Of course it is painful. We all wanted to be at the biggest stage in Africa, especially as we are the holders. But we all know many factors contributed to our inability to qualify, and the less said about it the better.”
Nigeria’s huge disappointment has meant Mikel will now have to concentrate on his English Premier League club Chelsea.
“For now, my focus is back on my team, with an aim to win everything that comes,” he said.
“People are talking about the quadruple. Just like they put it in our minds that we might be able to go the whole season unbeaten. We didn’t want to be beaten.
“And yes, we are in the hunt for four trophies; and we know it won’t be easy. But we are working hard, and we know we are a successful side, so let’s see what we come up with in May.”
Meanwhile Mikel says he will not complain about his relegated role at title-chasing Chelsea, insisting he will just get on with the job.
Mikel has made only four starts in 12 appearances for all-conquering Chelsea in the EPL this season to spark off speculations about his future at ‘The Blues’.
But the Nigeria midfielder has maintained he still has a place at the Stamford Bridge side and he will keep working at it in his ninth year at the club.
“We all know Chelsea packs quality and, to even be in the reckoning at all is a big thing,” said Mikel, who was picked as African best performer in the EPL last month.