Photo by Ganiyu Yusuf:
The Zambians, who have been training in Ghana, have been talking tough ahead of the key match, their confidence boosted by their back-to-back wins over Algeria in September.
But Mikel is not bothered.
“We know how important the match is; that is enough motivation to go all out and give our very best. There are several players in this team who have not played at the FIFA World Cup. They want to be there in Russia next year,” Mikel told the Nigeria Football Federation media department.
“The talking will be done on the pitch. I have no doubt we have the quality to achieve victory, but we will not make the mistake of underrating the Zambians.”
The former Chelsea star told thenff.com that a good run in African Group B of the qualifying series has been down to focus, determination and massive support of all Nigerians.
“We have played four matches in the campaign so far, but this one is the match. We are fully focused and ready. All we want is the usual support and encouragement by everyone involved, including the fans who will turn out at the match venue.”
Nigeria, who top the Group B table with 10 points to Zambia’s seven, will qualify for a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance with victory on Saturday. The match kicks off at 5pm at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.