Mikel Obi: Super Eagles are serious contenders for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations

The Chelsea midfielder believes the national team has the qualities that should see them win a third continental crown in February

As the countdown to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations reaches its last stages, Chelsea John Obi Mikel has staked his reputation on the fact that Stephen Keshi can lead the Eagles to a third continental triumph come February 10 in South Africa.

Obi spoke to Fifa.com on the coming Afcon and when asked who his pick for the trophy was, he replied emphatically - “Nigeria, of course”.

“Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire will also be up there, but teams like Cape Verde and Zambia could pose major threats.

“If Cape Verde could stop Cameroon, they must have qualities to do so. They therefore need to be taken seriously,” he added.

Obi, who is in Japan to play in the Fifa Club World Cup tournament with Chelsea said all the Eagles need to do is prepare well and be focused on every match.

“We need to prepare well, be focused and take all opponents very seriously. We also need to play as a team.

“If it is individual qualities, we have that in abundance. Coach Stephen Keshi has already won this tournament as a player, and I believe he can make history by winning it again as a coach."

Obi played his first Nations Cup tournament in 2006 as a teenager with the Super Eagles taking the bronze medal.

“It was a wonderful experience. And it was great to finish up with a bronze medal at my first-ever Nations Cup coming through from the U-20s to the senior team.”

Obi will now hope that he can win the trophy in 2013 after missing out on representing Nigeria at the Nations Cup when the team failed to qualify and the 2010 World Cup where he got injured before the commencement of the tournament that was hosted in South Africa.