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Football | Afcon 2017

John Obi Mikel and Yobo © Backpagepix

Mikel calls for unity against Ivorians



Days ahead of the fierce quarterfinal between Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles playmaker Mikel Obi says his side needs a collective play to overcome the Elephants.

The Chelsea midfielder was speaking on Friday in Rustenburg, where both West African teams will meet on Sunday evening, urging his mates to work together to surmount the Ivorian hurdle.

“We cannot progress if we count on our individual potentials. We need to work together to be able to pull down the Elephants on Sunday and move on,” the 24-year-old said.

He also added the tournament had been great for him and team mates so far and that it was another fulfilled national assignment.

“We are happy to get to the quarterfinals and happy to represent our dear country Nigeria, which every footballer dreams of every time,” he said.

Ivory Coast defeated Nigeria in the 2006 and 2008 editions, which were the last times both sides met, but Obi is confident his team can overturn the historic advantage in their favour by the weekend.

“I feel it is going to be a tough match because Ivory Coast have great players, but we have been working hard to engage them and I’m confident we’ll carry the day,” he said.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has promised bonuses up to $15 000 (R 135 000) for each player if they defeat the continent’s number one team to reach the last four.

The Elephants captain Didier Drogba told Ivorian state television RTI on Friday they were not scared of the Super Eagles despite their formidable status of the past, but would not underrate the team in anyway.



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