Mikel upbeat at player of the year chances

08 January 2014 02:32

Nigeria's John Obi Mikel is hoping to be crowned Africa's best player at the Confederation of African Football awards this week, he said on Wednesday.

The Chelsea midfielder is vying for the prestigious award with the Ivorian pair of Yaya Toure, of English Premier League rivals Manchester City, and Didier Drogba, from Turkish club Galatasaray.

"It is an honour to be selected and nominated for the award. I am looking forward to winning it for my country," Mikel, who has twice been voted Africa's best young player, told AFP by phone from London.

The 26-year-old helped Nigeria win a third Africa Cup of Nations in February last year and also qualify for a fifth World Cup finals in November.

He also won a first-ever UEFA Europa League title for his club side.

Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba have previously won the CAF player of the year award but former Arsenal ace Nwankwo Kanu was the last Nigeria star to clinch it in 1999.

Mikel said he plans a whistle-stop visit to Nigeria's financial capital, Lagos, for Thursday evening's awards.

"I am coming for the CAF awards. I will be flown in and out of Nigeria by the Chelsea jet. I will arrive on the awards day and return immediately after," Mikel disclosed.

Chelsea, currently third in the English Premier League behind Arsenal and Manchester City, are away to Hull City on Saturday.

Source: AFP