Chelsea's Mikel receives Nigeria Player of the Year award

The Blues midfielder accepts the award, voted for by readers from his homeland, ahead of the Super Eagles' quarter final match against Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel accepted the Nigeria Fans' Player of the Year 2012 award on Thursday ahead of the Super Eagles' quarter-final match against Ivory Coast in Rustenburg.

A hefty 36.84 per cent of readers preferred the Blues man ahead of club team-mate Victor Moses, CSKA Moscow's Ahmed Musa, Kano Pillars' Reuben Gabriel and Montpellier's John Utaka for the title of the best Nigerian player of the past year.

Accepting the award from Nigeria chief editor Lolade Adewuyi, Mikel thanked the fans and spoke of his intentions to lead Nigeria to a triumphant Africa Cup of Nations finish.

On the burden of expectations placed on him by Nigerian fans with the award, the Chelsea star told "The pressure is even more and I'm primed to carry the burden and try to lead this team to a very successful tournament.

"All of us are doing everything we can and the players are all in good shape. The team is together and all we have to do is just keep doing what we're doing. The camp seems to be very united and everyone is focused on what we're doing.

"The quarter-final is going to be an opportunity for us to go out there and show the world what we can do against [the Elephants]."

The 25 year-old, who recently signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea, admits that he is anxious to finally score his first Premier League goal.

"That's something that I’ve always put in my mind, something that I'm working very hard towards," Mikel added. "I've come pretty close in most of the games that I've played but I think one day it will come.

"I'm praying and hoping that one day the goal will come."