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Mikel tips Nigeria to win Nations Cup

Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel believes his country could win next year’s African Cup of Nations, but not without hard work

Mohamad Mosselhi , Wednesday 12 Dec 2012
John Obi Mikel
Ghana's Asamoah Gyan (R) is challenged by Nigeria's John Obi Mikel during their African Nations Cup semi-final soccer match in Luanda January 28, 2010. (Photo: AP)
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Chelsea’s Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel said Wednesday that his country's team could be crowned African champions if they remain determined and make good preparations.

"We need to prepare well, be focused and take all opponents very seriously," Mikel told FIFA.com.

"We also need to play as a team. If it is individual qualities, we have that in abundance and coach Stephen Keshi has already won this tournament as a player, and I believe he can make history by winning it again as a coach," he added.

Nigeria, who won the Nations Cup two times, is looking to add a third star on their shirt, but Mikel expects tough competition with title contenders Ivory Coast and Ghana.

"Nigeria, of course! Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire will also be up there," he said.

Despite rating the Super Eagles as a title contender, the 26-year-old voiced caution concerning Nigeria’s group in the Nations Cup which includes defending champions Zambia and minnows Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

"They are all decent teams by the fact that they have qualified for the Nations Cup. We therefore have to approach all of them with all seriousness, but I would still rate Zambia ahead of both Burkina Faso and Ethiopia as they are the defending champions."

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