Inheriting Number 10 Jersey Not My Priority, Says Iwobi

John Mikel Obi (centre) will have a one-on-one discussion with Super Eagles head Coach Gernot Rohr this week to decide his international duties for Nigeria

With John Obi Mikel’s imminent retirement from the national team, the race for who among the players will wear the Number 10 jersey resonated yesterday at the pre-match conference ahead of the match against Tunisia this evening.

The man at the centre of the storm is no other person than Alex Iwobi, the FC Arsenal forward and nephew to Austin Jay Jay Okocha who captained the national team from 2000 to 2006 with the AFCON tournament of that year as his last.

Iwobi who is leading the next generation of players in the national team however insisted that inheriting the Number 10 jersey was not his priority.

“I have no personal ambition to inherit the Number 10 jersey. All that is important to me is the to represent my country and play well to make the millions of Nigerian to be happy.

“The Number 10 jersey is a special one in global football and when you wear is its a special honour and an additional responsibilities on the individual.

“However if it falls on me from the coach I would be glad to pick it and continue the family tradition,” he observed yesterday.

Mikel inherited the iconic Number 10 jersey from Okocha and became, perhaps, one of the longest holder of the jersey in Nigerian football history.

Obi wore the jersey at 2008 AFCON finals in Ghana where the Super Eagles were eliminated by host Ghana in the quarter finals of the tournament.