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Chelsea's Mikel receives Nigeria player of the year award

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 Cote d'Ivoire in Rustenburg.

Some 36.84 per cent of readers voted for Mikel ahead of Chelsea team-mate Victor Moses, CSKA Moscow's Ahmed Musa, Kano Pillars' Reuben Gabriel and Montpellier's John Utaka.

Accepting the award from Nigeria chief editor Lolade Adewuyi, Mikel thanked the fans and spoke of his intentions to lead Nigeria to a successful Africa Cup of Nations campaign, despite the extra burden of expectation.

“The pressure is even more and I’m primed to carry the burden and try to lead this team to a very successful tournament," he told

“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 recently signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea and is hoping to get his first Premier League goal at long last.

“That’s something that I've always put in my mind, something that I’m working very hard towards,” he said. “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,” Mikel concluded.