Mikel Obi has admitted the Super Eagles lacked some experience in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations warm-up game against Zimbabwe.
The three-time African champions were held to a goalless draw by Zimbabwe as both teams prepare for the Africa Cup later this month in Egypt.
“Like the coach said, we lacked some experience (vs Zimbabwe), players like Odion Ighalo, Wilfred Ndidi and Shehu (Abdullahi) did not play,” said Mikel after the game in which he was voted Man of the Match.
“This team is a blend of young and experienced players and we could still flashes of talent from (Samuel) Chukwueze, Samuel Kalu.
“They are very good players and the coach will work on when they should run with the ball, when they should pass.
“They can do great things at the Nations Cup.
“We the senior players, coaches just have to keep talking to them and hopefully we will have a good tournament in Egypt.”
It was almost a year to the day when the former Chelsea star last played for the country and he said he remains motivated to represent Nigeria.
He played as a defensive midfielder and even at 34 covered every blade of grass on a rain-soaked pitch of the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba to the admiration of the fans who applauded him when he was pulled out with some minutes to spare.
“I am motivated, if I wasn’t, I won’t be with the team,” he said.
“Like I told the coach, when I am ready, I will come back. I am back and I will give 110% to the team.”
He added: “The team have done well, the boys have worked really hard to get us here.
“And I just came to give a little bit of my experience to help the team.”
This will be his fifth Nations Cup and he will be one of only three players on the final squad to Egypt who have previously played at the tournament proper.
The others are Kenneth Omeruo and Ahmed Musa, who made their Africa Cup debuts six years ago in South Africa, when Nigeria won a third continental crown.