FIFA World Cup

Mikel: My Russian in-laws will kill me if I don’t play in 2018 World Cup

In an interview with FIFA.com, Super Eagles skipper John Obi Mikel revealed that his Russian in-laws will “kill” him if he fails to lead Nigeria to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The Super Eagles currently top Group B with six points after recording victories against Zambia and Algeria. In second place are the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on two points. The Chipolopolo of Zambia are third on one point, while Algeria are bottom with same number of point.

The former Chelsea midfielder, who is betrothed to Russian beauty, Olga Diyachenko, stated that his in-laws will not forgive him and his Super Eagles teammates should they fail to make it to Russia for the quadrennial World football showpiece:

“My wife is Russian. And many of our relatives and friends are from Russia,” Mikel told FIFA.com.

“They are all expecting Nigeria to qualify for the next World Cup. I think they will kill me if I fail them.”

The 30-year-old also said that he believes strongly that the Super Eagles’ chances of making it to Russia will gain a huge boost if they succeed in earning victory over the Indomitable Lions in Uyo on September 1.

“We are in a very good position in our group,” the Tianjin Teda midfielder and captain stated.

“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) it will edge us closer to qualification. I think we can go through.”

However, he believes taming the Indomitable Lions will be a daunting task for the three-time African Champions as the would prove to be a hard nut to crack.

“As everyone knows, they are a very good team,” Mikel 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.

The Tianjin Teda captain expressed sadness over his injury but stated that he is ready to resume playing and help the Super Eagles and also his Chinese Super League club.

“I had maintained good form until this injury. 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.”

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