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2018 WORLD CUP | We Do not want a repeat of Rio Olympics Experience – Mikel

by on October 23, 2016
 

Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi has urged the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) to embrace ‘proper planning’ and learn from recent mistakes, to ensure a successive World Cup appearance in Russia.

The Eagles landed in Zambia barely 22 hours before their 2018 World Cup qualifier on October 9 after financial problems delayed the squad.

Nigeria won Olympic bronze despite arriving just hours before their first match in Manaus because of transport issues.

“I don’t think anything can beat the problems that we faced at the Olympics. I don’t think any team or country can go through what we went through in Brazil and perform the way we did,” Mikel told BBC Sport.

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“I think it’s a miracle and I don’t think it will ever happen again.

“To arrive at a tournament a couple of hours before your first game and still end up with a medal was an outstanding team performance.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the same problem [arriving on match day] we are facing now, but it is still the same issue that needs to be sorted out,” said Mikel.

Three-time African champions Nigeria are top of Group B in their qualifying race for Russia 2018 after a hard-fought 2-1 win in Zambia.

But Mikel, who made a scoring debut for his country at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations against Zimbabwe, believes that a hitch-free preparation will boost their chances of clinching the group’s sole ticket.

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“For us to succeed we need to put things in place as early as possible and let the players focus on football, and not dealing with issues like flight and other things off the pitch,” he said.

“This is where my experience comes in and I make sure I keep the team together. I don’t let whatever is happening outside distract the team,” Mikel added.

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