Nigeria still needs Mikel - Okocha
Former Nigerian player, Austin Okocha has said Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel is key to Super Eagles' 2013 Afcon campaign.
Super Eagles are paired with the Lone Star of Liberia in a two-legged final race of the biennial football fiesta in South Africa next January.
Okocha told SuperSport.com that Nigeria cannot afford to shut out one of the nation's best players in the race for South Africa 2013 showpiece.
"I think we're looking at improving with every game and bringing Mikel back, of course, is a plus for us.
"Mikel is about one of our best players, no matter what we think about it, we still need him.
"He is an important player, I think it's a good goal to have him," said Okocha.
The former Super Eagles' captain also spoke of the Liberian opposition.
"I think it's a good draw for us, we've a team that can beat Liberia. I don't think they can stop us, I believe Eagles will go through.
"Well, my confidence is based on the fact that we don't concede lot of goals.
"If you don't concede goals you have only one option to score and win.
"Even though we're struggling upfront, we're on the good way in getting a team that will take us to where we want to be," the former Paris St Germain and Fenerbahce man remarked.
The midfield maestro believes that a blend of the domestic and foreign-based players is a positive path to success.
"Well, I think it's the way forward because the professionals started back home before venturing abroad to become professionals.
"I think the coach should always play his best players in every game," he said.
Okocha said we need not lose sleep trying to know the make up of the Liberian team.
"The key for me is getting it right on the matchday, do our home work well.
"Aside that we don't need to bother ourselves about our opponents," he said.