Mikel refuses to pay Nigeria fine

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John Obi Mikel

John Obi Mikel

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has made a u-turn and said he will not pay a fine of $5,000 imposed for reporting late to the Nigeria training camp here this week.

Mikel, who earlier said he had put the incident behind him and was focused on Saturday’s crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea, has insisted he did nothing wrong and so will not pay the fine.

The defensive midfielder was supposed to join up with the 22-man squad by midnight Tuesday but instead arrived at the team hotel early on Wednesday morning.

“No, I don’t think I will pay any fine because I did not do anything wrong. I have reported to the camp and I have a very, very genuine reason (for not coming until Wednesday),” the England-based star insisted at a press briefing on Thursday.

“If the manager (Samson Siasia) would tell Nigerians my reason, anyone in that situation will reason with me.”

Mikel is believed to have gone to the central town of Jos to visit his father, who was recently freed by the police from a gang of kidnappers.

He then trained with the team on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

The midfielder revealed that no Nigeria team official has yet told him that he should pay the fine.

Nigeria need to win this weekend to topple Guinea from the top of qualifying Group B.

They are three points behind the group leaders with only the overall group winners guaranteed automatic passage to the Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in January.

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