No racism concerns for Nigeria captain Mikel

Christian Chukwu

Christian Chukwu

A day before taking on Croatia in their Group D opener in Kaliningrad, Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel, however, said his team has been welcomed to Russian Federation with open arms.

"We have such a young team, maybe this World Cup is too soon for them". We certainly have very high quality offensive players and we shouldn't be afraid.

Nigeria have qualified for their sixth World Cup - they have only missed one tournament (2006) since their first participation in 1994. Can that be enough motivation for the present crop of Super Eagles, coached by German manager Gernot Rohr, to maintain that 100-percent record against Croatia? "But of course some luck and many other things have to come together".

The Russian game has been plagued by racist fans for decades, and world governing body FIFA last month fined the Russian football association 25,000 euros ($29,000) after several black players were subjected to discriminatory chants during a friendly game against France.

But captain John Obi Mikel, the former Chelsea midfielder who now plays for Tianjin TEDA in the Chinese Super League, promised: 'We are ready.

"As my parents were leaving the flat, I dropped off the keys at his flat and that was how we met and started off as friends and then grew into lovers. In any case, we feel at home here and expect in tomorrow's game against Croatia the support will be great".

"Every decision taken on the match should be left for the coach alone, so that Nigerians would hold him accountable for any result that emanates from it".

The Arsenal record signing whose country could not make it to the Federation Internationale de Football Association mundial has never hidden his support for the Nigerian Super Eagle and his Arsenal teammate Alex Iwobi. That means this particular matchup could go a long way in determining which team has the better chance of advancing to the World Cup knockout stage. Prosecutors claimed Modric gave a false court statement in June past year about his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham.

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