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Former Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi and Didier Drogba were teammates at Chelsea, with both going on to achieve great things at the club during their era. But they were rivals on the African scene.
Mikel played for Nigeria’s Super Eagles, while Drogba featured for the Elephants of Ivory Coast. Interestingly, they faced each other when Nigeria met Ivory Coast in the quarter-final of the African Cup of Nations back in 2013.
Godfrey Oboabona has explained how the advice of his then Super Eagles teammate John Obi Mikel helped him to silence Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
According to Oboabona, it was the advice of Mikel that helped him curtail the threat of Drogba, who had no joy in that game.
“I remember a night before the game I went to Mikel because he was with Drogba in Chelsea,” Oboabona told Super Eagles media team in an Instagram chat.
“I asked him, ‘What do you think is his key point’ and he said to me I should not allow him to turn and if he turns I’m finished. With this, it was a lot of motivation to me.
“Before the game when we were warming up Mikel came to me and Kenneth and told us not to allow Drogba to turn and I remember I had a coach in Nigeria, Fatai Amoo, my coach in Sunshine Stars.
“We had a striker, we call him Coulibaly, he’s from Ivory Coast or Senegal, and he told me if you have a striker who is very strong give him a little distance so when he wants to turn you can approach him.
“I remember this and what Mikel said and in the game, I was close to him but not man-to-man.
“When he chests the ball he is so powerful and so strong, I always give him space to do whatever he wants to do, when I see he wants to turn then I close him down and don’t allow him to shoot.
“The encouragement Mikel gave to me really helped me a lot and I think with Kenneth, gave us a lot of motivation in the game.”