Mikel had this to say at the Vyootopia Mission89 Africa Digital Sports Conference 2022 on Thursday.
The former Chelsea superstar was in the personality spotlight at the colorful event held at Wave Beach in Lagos.
pulse sports nigeria was at the conference with the theme of adopting new technologies in digital sports and increasing opportunities for African youth in the sports industry.
The World Cup is not special without Nigeria
The 2022 FIFA World Cup has reached its crucial stages in Qatar, with Morocco, the last standing team from Africa still in the competition entering the quarter-final stage later today.
Nigeria missed out on the world showpiece after losing to the Ghana Black Stars on away goals during the qualifiers.
Speaking about the World Cup, the former Nigeria captain stated that while the 2022 edition has been amazing, there is nothing special as the Super Eagles are not in Qatar.
“I think the World Cup without Nigeria is not really a World Cup, it’s not really special,” Mikel said.
“We should be there (in Qatar), we should have been there. But I think it’s been an amazing tournament so far. Regardless of all the political stuff that’s going on, I think we need to talk about football. It’s been great and amazing. It’s been there have been surprises and shocking results, which is something we like and want”.
Morocco or Messi to win
The 2022 World Cup is down to eight teams out of 32 as it enters the quarterfinal stage today.
Before matches, the 35-year-old would love to see Morocco, the only remaining African team in the competition, go all the way to lift the title.
However, he added a caveat: if the Atlas Lions fail, he wants to see Argentina take the coveted crown thanks to Lionel Messi.
“I want an African team to win it, so right now I support Morocco. But if Morocco doesn’t win, I hope Argentina win thanks to Messi.”