Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel is excited about his leadership role and believes the Super Eagles have the required quality to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Despite the AFCON 2017 qualifying match against Tanzania on the weekend being a dead rubber, as neither team could qualify for the finals in Gabon next year, Chelsea midfielder Mikel ensured his availability, understanding the importance of the Super Eagles side picking up confidence and momentum ahead of the World Cup qualifiers later this year.
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“I know how important the (qualifiers) are in our bid to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. That was the reason why I came for the Tanzania encounter which is a good preparation for the clash against Zambia.
“We all must do our part. We should not continue to dwell on the past to move forward. We must put our house in order if we are to play in Russia,” he said.
The defensive midfielder added that he is ready to embrace his role as one of the team’s senior statesmen and is confident he can help Nigeria qualify for the World Cup from a tough group that includes Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
“I always strive to be exemplary and to live as a model for others,” Mikel added.
“Being the leader now, I need to lead by example and I am sure when the young players see me running hard, they have to run twice harder.
“That’s the motivation that they have and I am sure they all have the same goal like me to go to the World Cup.
“I believe in the players I have seen here and I am sure with the right combination of experience and the youthful players we will have a good campaign.”
Story by Ghana/Joy Sports