Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel believes Nigeria are on the right track to build on their success as African champions at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Super Eagles have played in five of the past six World Cups but after reaching the second round in 1994 and 1998, have taken just two points from their past six matches in the finals.
They come into the tournament on a high, however, after winning last year’s Africa Cup of Nations and boasting the likes of Mikel, his Chelsea team-mate Victor Moses and forward Emmanuel Emenike.
“This is my first World Cup,” Mikel said after a training session in Campinas. “I want to make sure we achieve something coming here. We don’t just want to come and make up the numbers, we want to do well.
“I have to make sure I lead by example. We are all driving in the same direction. We all know what we want and hopefully we will have a good tournament.”
Mikel believes that becoming African champions has given the Nigerian side an injection of confidence as they make their World Cup preparations.
He said: “We know we’re the African champions and people expect us to do well, to represent the African continent. That’s a bit more extra pressure but it’s pressure that we love. We love to be African champions.
“We’re doing well, we’re doing everything we can. We’re preparing well. Today the result in Spain against the Netherlands (5-1 victory for the Dutch) shows anything is possible so we have to make sure we approach games seriously and play well.”