BY JUDITH NWABIA
Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel has said that the team will have to remain at the top of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B table, a height which they attained with their 2-1 defeat of Zambia’s Chipolopolo in Ndola on Sunday.
Nigeria won a competitive away game for the first time in 23 months as Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho scored before Collins Mbesuma pulled one back in the Zambian Copperbelt capital.
The Chelsea midfield ace believes that a united and focused Super Eagles, and a supportive Nigeria Football Federation, which has propelled the Eagles to the top of the so called ‘Group of Death’, will guarantee the three –time African champions a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
“I have belief that we can reach new heights with this team. The boys are so committed that it makes you happy. The coaching crew is made up of very matured and brilliant people who respect the players. We are onto a good thing,” Mikel told thenff.com.
“We have a very good chance to qualify for the World Cup if we keep our heads and play at our best level. Each and every one of us is determined to go to the World Cup. Now that we are top of the table, we have to remain there.”
Super Eagles will take on Algeria in their next Group B encounter at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on the 12th of November, 2016.
Iheanacho beats Yekini, Siasia record after four consecutive scores
Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho registered his name on the score sheet for the fourth straight game in the Super Eagles impressive 2-1 win over Zambia in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday afternoon.
The 20-year-old’s 42nd minute goal saw him beat the personal record of Rashidi Yekini and his former strike partner Samson Siasia, who both scored in three consecutive matches for the Super Eagles.
The late Yekini first scored in three consecutive games at the 1990 African Nations Cup, against Egypt, Ivory Coast and Zambia, while ex-Nantes star Siasia repeated the feat when he netted against Benin Republic in an AFCON qualifier on April 27, 1991 before scoring in his next two matches against Burkina Faso (July 1991) and Senegal (January 1992).
Iheanacho did not score in his first two games for the national team but ended that run when he hit target in 1-0 win over Mali in May, then scored against Luxembourg, Tanzania and Zambia.
The Taye Academy product is Nigeria’s current top scorer this calendar year.