Drogba rates Mikel high as the Eagles clash with the Elephants looms large on the horizon

Cote d’Ivoire captain has praised his former Chelsea team mate but says they will remain brothers whatever the outcome of Sunday’s match in Rustenburg
With just hours before the epic quarter final clash between west African neighbours, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, the captain of the Elephants, Didier Drogba has praised the skill of Mikel Obi and that the match against Nigeria will be tough.

Drogba scored his first 2013 Afcon goal against the Algerians on Wednesday and could start the encounter against Nigeria on Sunday.

“Against Nigeria, it will be a tough game, against a team that also intends to go far in this tournament,” Drogba told fifa.com.

“The Super Eagles are a very strong team, very physical. Stephen Keshi has been doing good work, but I hope that Côte d’Ivoire will win and go through, but it will not be easy."

He also spoke about meeting Mikel [Obi] after he left Chelsea at the end of last season and how he holds the Nigerian midfielder in high esteem.

“It is going to be hard and tough, everybody knows how good Mikel [Obi] is, and what he did with Chelsea in the Champions League final

“He was one of our best players in that game. But now I will play against him. We are going to laugh before the game, and then it will be tough during the match, but then laugh again after the game because we are good friends. He is my brother."

The Super Eagles confront the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday in Rustenburg for a place in the semi-finals of the 2013 edition of the Nations Cup.