Former Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has completed a surprise move to the Middle East by signing for Kuwaiti Premier League club Al Kuwait SC.
The club announced the signing of the UEFA Champions League winner from the Championship side, Stoke City, who, last week invoked a one-year extension on the 34-year-old’s contract.
The 34-year-old was one of the standout players in Michael O’Neill’s team in the 2020-21 season with 39 league appearances under his belt as they finished 14th in the table last season.
Mikel returned to England last August after he terminated his contract with Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor over a disagreement regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
But surprising to many, the former Chelsea and Trabzonspor star has penned just a one-year contract that will keep him at his new club for the 2021-22 season.
Mikel expressed delight at this new chapter in his career even as he promised to repay the confidence reposed in him by the leadership of Al Kuwait SC.
“I am very happy to sign for Kuwait SC, I thank the President of Kuwait SC for the trust that he has given to me to come to Kuwait,” Mikel said in a short video posted on Kuwaiti SC’s Instagram page.
“I promise to be on my best level to help the team to make sure that together as a team we can achieve a great season next year and hopefully, we can be successful.”
Al Kuwait Sports Club does not have any other Nigerian presently but Mikel is not the only African at the club – with the likes of Morocco’s El-Mehdi Barrahma, Tunisia duo Ahmed Akaichi and Rami Bedoui, and Mali’s Abdulwahid Sissoko in their line-up.
The club finished third in the Premier League last season behind Al-Qadsia and leaders Al-Arabi.
Al Kuwait Sports Club will hope the arrival of an experienced player in Mikel will help them challenge for the title again even though they have won the top prize on 15 different occasions.
Mikel is not new to Asian football having previously spent two years in the Chinese Super League with Tianjin Teda from January 2017 to January 2019.
The Nigerian legend won several laurels including the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League, the Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup in his 11-year stay with Chelsea.