It's important to remember that John Obi Mikel is still only 25. That's also known as just one year older than Juan Mata. I bring up his age not in terms of his ability or his potential - although as someone who's often called a successor to Claude Makelele at Chelsea, he's about the same as when Makelele started moulding his game into the role that eventually took on his moniker - but in terms of his accomplishments.
When I was 25, I think I received my first raise, upgraded my desktop computer, saw a coyote in the middle of a desert, entered a steady relationship, and rented an apartment without a roommate. Fairly normal things in Everyday, USA suburbia; even my once and future alcoholism was still just in the "binge" rather than its current "everyday crutch" state. I certainly had not won a single trophy or medal of note, although I did once place second in the "Surf the Net" event at a WA State Science Olympiad. In contrast, Mikel has eight trophies. Eight! And a few individual awards to boot.
Seven seasons, eight trophies, and that's without getting to partake in the glory years of Jose Mourinho. Four FA Cups, one League Cup, a Community Shield, the Premier League trophy from Ancelotti's double, and of course the Big Eared one from the Miracle of Di Matteo - an impressive haul. And after years of frustration and controversy with Nigeria, he finally has a chance to add to that on an national pride level, too, as the Super Eagles contest the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final (1 P.M. EST).
Their opponents will be Burkina Faso, against whom they slumped to a 1-1 draw in the group stages. But with Alain Traore missing and Nigeria impressive in the knockout rounds versus the Ivory Coast and Mali, odds are that a repeat disappointment will be avoided. Kenneth Omeruo and Victor Moses will also have similar ambition, although the latter may be a fitness doubt.
COME ON YOU SUPER EAGLES!!!
There's also some random Premier League action preceding all that, none of which fills me with any interest whatsoever at this point: Aston Villa vs. West Ham United (8:30 A.M. EST); Manchester United vs. Everton (11 A.M. EST). That second one may not be too bad, I suppose, if just for the hope of another Marouane Fellaini classic rather than yet another humdrum victory led by Robin van Persie.