Mikel : My In-laws Are Waiting For Me To Lead Super Eagles To Russia

Super Eagles Captain John Obi Mikel is optimistic that Nigeria will qualify for football global finest fiesta next year.
Speaking to FIFA.com, the Olympics bronze medallist is confident of putting smiles on over 200million faces. Group B, in which Nigeria are already four points clear of second-placed Cameroon and five ahead of Zambia and Algeria, certainly makes for pleasant reading.
And though four tough games have still to be negotiated, Mikel is upbeat about their prospects of topping the table and claiming the section’s sole spot at Russia 2018.

"We are in a very good position in our group," the 30-year-old Tianjin Teda midfielder told FIFA.com . "We have two wins from two games, and in our last game we beat Algeria at home. We have a very good young team and the players play good football. If we can win our next match (at home to Cameroon on 31 August) it will edge us closer to qualification. I think we can go through." For the former Chelsea star, the pressure to make it to Russia is immense.

And as he explained, that is not simply due to the expectations of supporters in his football-mad homeland. "My wife is Russian,” he said, “and many of our relatives and friends are from Russia. They are all expecting Nigeria to qualify for the next World Cup. I think they will kill me if I fail them," he added, laughing. But as traditional,respect must be given to the next opposition Cameroon who are also the current African Champions.

"As everyone knows, they are a very good team,” he said of Cameroon. “They are strong and they play with confidence. We must get ourselves well prepared for this game and try our best to get on top against them. It won't be easy but these are important matches. If we win both, we will be almost there.” He's also hopeful to be back in action after setbacks with injury. "I had maintained good form until this injury," he said.

"So it was a shame. But this is part of the game and now I am focusing on recovery and on coming back stronger. I will do whatever I can to get fit to play for Teda and my national team.

"This Nigeria team look up to me for advice. My team-mates miss me and they need me. As the captain, I want to fulfil my role and help them with my experience." The Super Eagles were Eliminated at the second round of Brazil 2014 courtesy of France and Mikel is aiming to lead the team to better outing next summer. “I am glad with what I have done,” he said. “But at the same time, I am not satisfied. I want to achieve more, so I must push harder.

The next World Cup in Russia will be a fresh chance for us but, first, we have to make it there. Then the next challenge will be to make sure we enjoy an even better tournament in Russia than we did in Brazil.”

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