The 2012 Champions League winner won the biggest prize in African football with Nigeria more than ten years ago and he is forecasting another title triumph
Former Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has predicted a final between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.
The Super Eagles and the Elephants met on the second matchday of the competition, with the Anglophone nation edging to a narrow 1-0 win in Abdijan.
The two countries have followed different paths after Nigeria finished Group A as runners-up, and the Ivorians made it to the knockout round as one of the third-best losers.
Nigeria defeated Cameroon and Angola in the knockout rounds to set up a semifinal date with South Africa.
Back from the brink of exiting their own tournament, Cote d’Ivoire stunned defending champions Senegal on penalties before dumping out Mali after extra time in the quarterfinals.
Should the Ivorians beat DR Congo in their semifinal clash, they would meet the winner of the tie between Nigeria and South Africa.
And Mikel expects the games to pan out exactly like that.
When asked if Nigeria and Ivory Coast will reach the final on The Obi One podcast, Mikel said,
“I think so. I was thinking about it the other day and I was thinking that we managed to beat them in the group stage, and they were on the verge of leaving the tournament, and all of a sudden, you know, they are back in it, and now.
“They have got a wind with them and now are playing pretty okay but not so well, but they have started to win games, and now if they can manage to get to the final, who knows?”
The former Chelsea midfielder, however, insists that the Super Eagles will lift the AFCON for a fourth time, with Osimhen the poster boy of the triumph.
“I see it coming home,” Mikel added. “I see Nigeria winning this and Victor Osimhen leading the trophy charge.”
Mikel was a key member of the Nigeria squad that lifted the AFCON for the third time in 2013.