thumbnail Hello,

Chelsea midfielder has stressed that it's all about the team rather than about individual glory, while Stephen Keshi has stressed he doesn't have any problems with Victor Moses

By Stefan Coerts in Brasilia

Nigeria star John Obi Mikel has insisted that the team is all that matters for Stephen Keshi's men and that none of the players are looking for individual glory, saying that no-one wants to be the African side's Diego Maradona.

Previous Super Eagles squad contained stars such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Rashidi Yekini and Daniel Amokachi, yet the current crop of players has impressed with their togetherness rather than with individual quality.

Mikel and Ahmed Musa - who netted twice against Argentina - have been touted as Nigeria's biggest stars, yet the Chelsea midfielder has stressed that he's not thinking about individual success.

"I only care about the team. Nobody wants to be the Maradona of this team," Mikel said at a press conference ahead of Nigeria's round of 16 game against France.

"We don’t want to be talking about individuals. We all want to do our utmost for the team and I will keep giving my all."

Nigeria's preparation for Sunday's match against the French was marred by a row over appearance fees, with Keshi's men boycotting training the day before their trip to Brasilia, yet Mikel has insisted there were never any real issues.

"There were no major problems over money, just some little discussions. It’s what happens in football. I play for Chelsea and I know how these things work. They happen everywhere.

"Things were quickly sorted and this will not affect our focus for the game. There were never any massive problems."

France have impressed so far this World Cup with some sublime performances in the group stages and Mikel expects a tight encounter at the Estadio Mane Garrincha.

"It will be a spectacular game and we are very motivated. The match could be decided by details. It will be a close encounter. 

"I have played against some of the France players before in the Champions League. The coaches have also done their homework on how to approach the game and have given us all the details we need."

Meanwhile, head coach Stephen Keshi was full of respect for France as well ahead of their round of 16 encounter.

"The France players all play at big clubs across the world and [Didier] Deschamps has plenty of options. They have started the tournament really well. It will be a very difficult game. 

"The players are all aware of what happened early on against Argentina in the gruop stages. We came out differently after the break. I hope we can take this experience with us toward the match against France.

"It has been a very open tournament. You can never predict what will happen. Look at the Netherlands game [against Mexico] and what happened. Even Brazil are not guaranteed anything. It’s been a wonderful tournament."

Keshi has so far been reluctant to use star attacker Victor Moses, leading to suggestions that the duo have fallen out, but the Nigeria boss has stressed he doesn't have any problems with the Chelsea man, who was on loan at Liverpool last season.

"There is no problem with Moses. We have a lot of good players and I can play anybody I want.

"All the players who are here are good players."

Related

From the web