The Super Eagles skipper has said that his team is ready to dig deep for a battle against the Greens of Algeria in order to secure qualification for the Fifa World Cup
John Obi Mikel says Nigeria “have to give everything” to win Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria.
The Super Eagles began their campaign on a winning note against Zambia in Ndola, and victory against the Greens will boost their chances of qualifying for the global football showpiece in Russia.
According to the Chelsea midfielder, the players are aware of the game’s importance and would do all it takes to ensure victory in Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.
“We all know what this match means, why we have to give everything,” Mikel told NFF website.
“Yes, we started the race well by winning in Zambia, but we have to approach this match even more seriously.
“The Algerians will come with determination and they will play hard, but we will play harder.
“The World Cup is the biggest stage; every player wants to be there. I am happy we have such a young and energetic team.
“I played at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 but there are many of these players who have never been to the World Cup. They want to be there. “Three points; that is what we will be playing for. We are committed and the visit of the Vice President (Professor Yemi Osinbajo) to our training in Abuja has motivated us even more.”
Nigeria top Group B with three points, while the Algerians who were held to a 1-1 draw against Cameroon boast of one point with Zambia sitting at the base with no point.
Meanwhile, Mikel’s representatives have had contact from Marseille over a January transfer, with Chelsea looking unlikely to offer him a new contract, Goal understands.
The Nigeria international, whose contract expires at the end of June 2017, has dropped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge since the arrival of Antonio Conte and is very much on the periphery of the squad. However, he would be interested in renewing with the Blues if an offer was forthcoming.
Marseille, who were subject to a £32 million takeover by Frank McCourt in October, want to convince the 29-year-old to join their squad in January and have opened formal discussions over a move.
Although OM have fallen on hard times in recent seasons, Mikel could be attracted to the offer of playing for one of France’s biggest clubs. Additionally, the Ligue 1 outfit can offer the player and his family a good lifestyle in Provence, though his £75,000-a-week salary could be a sticking point.
Fenerbahce are monitoring the situation but have yet to make a move.
Mikel has previously spoken candidly to Goal about his future and admitted that, if he did not get an offer from Chelsea by January, he would look to begin talks with other clubs.
“I have one year left [on my contract],” Mikel told Goal . “When you have a year left as a football player, you have to start planning and start thinking about what’s going to happen at the end of the season. Yes, there are going to be rumours, yes, there are going to be conversations between clubs.
“When you have a year left, in January, you are allowed to talk to other clubs and sign a pre-contract or have an agreement so, yes, I will talk to other clubs. You never know what is going to happen.
“I’ve been here for a long, long time. I’ve spent 11 years of my life in this football club, it is my home. This season is the last at the club if my contract ends. I am quite relaxed about it, the future looks good.”
Mikel is Chelsea’s second longest serving player on the Blues’ books after John Terry, and any move away from Stamford Bridge would end his long association with the club.