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Mikel Warns Ivory Coast

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Chelsea midfielder and Nigeria international, John Mikel Obi has warned Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, title favourites Ivory Coast not to write off Nigeria ahead of their quarter-final clash on Sunday.

Nigeria booked a ticket to play in the quarter final at the expense of Ethiopia yesterday when Chelsea of England star, Victor Moses slotted two late penalties to end the pulsating tie 2-0. The Eagles finished second behind shock Group C winners, Burkina Faso.

Nigeria, who have failed to make the knockout stage only twice in 17 appearances, now set their sights against star studded Ivorian team inspired by Didier Drogba and Mikel believes the coach Stephen Keshi-led Eagles can send the Elephants packing.

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Speaking on BBCSports Service early today, Mikel said: “Playing against Ivory Coast is going to be both tough and exciting because some of the Ivorian players are my friends, especially Drogba,” said the 25-year-old Chelsea star.

“People who write off Nigeria already are doing so at their peril. This is a knockout match that we can definitely win. The media keep reminding us that the Ivorians are unbeatable as if they are African Brazilians, we shall see on Sunday,” he said.

While commenting on how they survived the Ethiopians’ challenge and qualified for the quarters after missing the last tournament held last year jointly by  Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Mikel said: “Ethiopia tie was a do-or-die game for us and we did really well, especially in the second half. Having conceded late equalisers against Burkina Faso and Zambia, we told our defenders to improve their concentration and they did.”

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