Nigerian footballer and Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi has revealed one of his driving forces for Nigeria to qualify for the Russia 2018 World Cup competition.
Speaking during a recent interview with fifa.com, the Tijanjin Teda of China midfielder revealed that his family is keenly interested in seeing Nigeria qualify for the competition.
Mikel Obi during the interview said: “My wife is Russian and many of our relatives and friends are from Russia. They are all expecting Nigeria to qualify for the next World Cup. I think they will kill me if I fail them.”
He added: “We are in a very good position in our group. 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 on 31 August) it will edge us closer to qualification. I think we can go through.
“As everyone knows, they are a very good team. 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.”
Mikel Obi is married to a Russian woman, Olga Diyachenko, who is also the mother of his children.
The footvaller revealed that his Russian side of the family are earnestly in support of the Super Eagles qualification for the event.
Speaking on his injury and his attempt at come back during the competition, the footballer who recently had a surgery said: “I had maintained good form until this injury,” he said. “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.”
“The next World Cup in Russia will be a fresh chance for us but, first, we have to make it there. Then the next challenge will be to make sure we enjoy an even better tournament in Russia than we did in Brazil.”