John Obi Mikel: his importance to Nigerias Afcon Dreams
John Obi Mikel has vast experience and will make the difference for Nigeria at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, says Efe Ambrose.
Mikel, skipper of Gernot Rohr’s men, helped the Super Eagles win the competition in South Africa 2013, and will be aiming to lead the team to victory in Egypt.
Nigeria have failed to qualify for the last two editions and are looking to win a fourth African crown in the North African nation.
Rohr’s side face Burundi, Madagascar and Guinea in the group stage, and Nigeria international Ambrose is backing Mikel to help the three-time champions go far once again.
“Mikel is the captain and also a leader in the team, he has also seen it all so his experience will be very crucial for the Super Eagles,” he told Goal.
“There are so many players in the squad who are playing the competition for the first time, so Mikel’s presence will help propel them to give their best.”
Ambrose also rejected the 'inexperienced' tag placed on the team, insisting that the Eagles have the desire to challenge any country when the competition gets underway.
“In 2013, no one gave us a chance because people felt we were inexperienced,” he continued.
“I believe this squad has got the belief, zeal, passion and hunger and will be hoping to repeat our feat in South Africa.
“Also, these boys want to make a name for themselves and I am sure that the Super Eagles will not let Nigerians down in Egypt.”
After losing 1-0 to Senegal in their last warm-up game, Nigeria begin their 18th appearance with a clash against debutants Burundi on June 22 in Alexandria.