Chelsea star Mikel has shone at the AFCON in South Africa, but he said there are no easy games at a top tournament like the Nations Cup and so the Super Eagles will approach this match against their Malian namesakes with all that is required to win and qualify for the final.
“It has not been easy, but we have been given our best game after game and we have done well to reach this stage of the competition,” Mikel said.
“We are looking forward to a good outing against Mali, but it is not going to be easy. We will give our best and hope to come out winners and book a place in the final.
“There are no small games at a tournament like this so we are very focused going into this semi-final game.”
Nigeria last reached the AFCON final in 2000, when they co-hosted the competition with Ghana.
Mikel has also urged Nigerians to keep supporting the team.
“We are here to do our best to make Nigerians happy, we need their support and backing. They should keep supporting us,” he said.
In the same vein, Super Eagles defender Godfrey Oboabona has set his eyes on stopping Mali’s talisman Seydou Keita in the semi-final.
Oboabona told MTNFootball.com that he is ready to face the former Barcelona star, who has scooped three Man-of-the-Match awards at this tournament, after he led the defence to shut out Didier Drogba in the quarterfinal.
“It will be tough and I am expecting a bigger challenge from Seydou Keita and the strikers in Mali team,” Oboabona told MTNFootball.com
“I will be fulfilled to have another great outing against a great player like Keita after my experience with Drogba. He is an experienced player with some tricks to score goals but I’m ready for all that.
“I respect Mali, I respect Keita but I fear nobody.”
Oboabona added: “We are going for victory in this game. It won’t be easy because having beaten Cote d’Ivoire all eyes are now on us, while we have our eyes on the trophy more than ever before. So when we beat Mali, it will move us closer to our target.”