European Championship

Mikel and Africans who missed major tournaments like Van Dijk

21:50 EAT 12/05/2021
John Obi Mikel Nigeria 2018
The Dutch captain has ruled himself out of the upcoming European tournament and Goal takes a look at African stars who also missed major tournaments

  • Van Dijk Immobile Italy Netherlands Nations League

    Virgil van Dijk to miss Euro 2020

    Van Dijk has ruled himself out of European Championship as he continues to recuperate from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

    The centre-back suffered the injury when Liverpool played Everton in October 2020, where he collided with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

    The 29-year-old hopes to return to action before the start of the 2021-22 Premier League campaign and here is a list of African stars who also missed major tournaments in the past.

  • John Obi Mikel

    John Obi Mikel

    Mikel was not part of Nigeria’s 2010 World Cup squad in South Africa after suffering a knee injury before the start of the tournament.

    The midfielder was at the peak of his career at the time, playing week-in-week-out with Premier League giants Chelsea and his absence was a big blow to the Super Eagles.

    Nigeria managed to reach the Round of 16 of the tournament and fans felt the West African side could have done better with the addition of Mikel.

    The midfielder had 91 caps before he finally retired from international duty in 2019 after helping the country clinch a number of trophies, including the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations title in South Africa.

  • Michael Essien Ghana Netherlands Friendly 05312014

    Michael Essien

    Essien is another notable African star who missed the 2010 World Cup after failing to recover in time from a knee injury.

    The midfielder had played a key role in the qualifiers, featuring in 10 of Ghana's 11 qualifying games to help the country top their group.

    The Black Stars went on to reach the quarter-finals of the global tournament, losing to Uruguay on penalties, and had Essien featured in the competition, the country could have been the first African side to reach the semi-finals.

  • Tunisia's forward Ghailene Chaalali (R) celebrates with Youssef Msakni after scoring a goal

    Youssef Msakni

    Msakni was not part of Tunisia’s 2018 World Cup squad in Russia after suffering a knee ligament injury before the start of the competition.

    The forward’s inability to feature for the Carthage Eagles adversely affected the North African country as they were eliminated at the group stage.

    Msakni has made 66 appearances for Tunisia since his debut against the Gambia in a friendly in January 2010.

  • Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik Christophe Mandanne Rennes Guingamp Coupe de France 05032014

    Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik

    Kana-Biyik missed Cameroon’s 2014 World Cup in Brazil after suffering a thigh injury during their preparation for the tournament.

    The Indomitable Lions were knocked out of the competition at the group stage after defeats to Mexico, Croatia, and host Brazil.

    Kana-Biyik announced his retirement from international duty in 2019 after only making six appearances for the West African country.

  • Ikechukwu Uche

    Ikechukwu Uche

    Uche was omitted from Nigeria's squad to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with coach Lars Lagerback preferring his brother Kalu Uche.

    The forward had featured prominently for the Super Eagles during the qualifiers and rescued the side from a number of defeats.

    Nigeria performed abysmally at the tournament, failing to advance past the group stage under Lagerback, who was hired to lead the side to the global competitions.

    The Swedish tactician was brought on by the Nigeria Football Federation after sacking Shaibu Amodu, who qualified the team for the tournament.

    Uche made 46 appearances for the three-time African champions, scoring 19 amazing goals before his retirement.