By Sulaiman Alao:
The sacking of Jose Mourinho as Chelsea coach in midweek and the expected fall-out will constitute the biggest trending news for several weeks to come while the Special One’s departure will no doubt give Nigerian international Mikel Obi some mixed feelings.
Mikel has become a bit-part player at the return of the controversial Portguese manager to Stamford Bridge last season. Milkel played 18 league games totalling 693 minutes (and mostly as subsitute) last season when Chelsea won the league title. This season, he featured in only five games totalling 175 minutes (again as substitute mostly) under Mourinho, promting speculation that the Super Eagles star is on his way out of the club. But he added a few minutes on Saturday when he came on for Cesc Fabregas against Sunderland. However, it was Mourinho that facilitated Mikel’s transfer from Norwegian side Lyn Oslo in 2006/07 season and remoulded the player to a defensive midfielder – a role Mikel thrived in during Mourinho’s first stint at Stamford Bridge.
With Mourinho’s exit from Chelsea for the second time, will Mikel get more playing time under Guus Hiddink or will he consider a move away from the Stamford Bridge in the near future? Only time will tell.
TIT BITS… TIT BITS…
Taiye TAIWO – The out of favour Super Eagles defender is still playing active football and currently plies his trade with HJK Helsinki in Finland. The Finland Veikkausliiga season has already ended with 30-year old Taiwo featuring in 11 league games for Helsinki who finished the season in the third position with 58 points after 33 matches. SJK won the league title with 60 points while Rops finished 2nd with 59 points.
Victor OBINNA – The 28-year old Nigerian international now plies his trade with Duisburg in the German second tier alongside 29-year old compatriot Kingsley ONUEGBU. Obinna has scored one goal in six matches while Onuegbu has two goals in 17. Both strikers’ goals returns are obviously not enough as Duisburg are currently languishing at the very bottom of the 18-team league table with 11 points.
Raheem LAWAL – The Super Eagles midfielder is a regular first team player for Eskiserhirspor in the Tukish Super League. The former Dream Team V star who shone like a million stars at the CAF U-23 Championships in Morocco in 2011 has featured in 11 league games for his club this term but they are currently rooted at the base of the 18-team league table with paltry seven points after 15 games.
Sunday MBA – Though he has been neglected by national team selectors, the midfielder who scored the lone goal that saw Nigerian beat Burkina Faso to lift the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa is waxing stronger at Turkish second tier club, Yeni Malatyaspor. The 27-year old currently has three goals to his credit in 15 matches for his club who are currently 11th in the table with 20 points.
Nwankwo OBIORA – The combative midfielder remains a key player for his Portuguese club, Academica, who are currently stuggling at the lower rungs of the Primeira Liga table in the 17th position on the 18-team log to be precise. The 24-year old Nigerian international has one goal to his credit in 10 games for Academica.
Emmanuel EMENIKE – Having called it quits with international football recently, the power-playing striker is finally rediscovering his goalscoring instincts at UAE where he has become the leading scorer for Al Ain with seven goals to his credit in eight matches. Al Ain currently top the Arabian Gulf League table with 28 points after 11 matches.
Sone ALUKO – Having gone down on relegation to the Championship with Hull City last season, the Nigerian international winger is battling to help the Tigers regain promotion to the EPL. The 26-year old currently has one goal to his name in 14 games while Hull City are currently fourth on the league table with 38 points.