Former Nigerian international John Obi Mikel has backed the Atlas Lions of Morocco to win the title in Qatar but says the FIFA World Cup is nothing special without the Super Eagles.
Nothing special about FIFA World Cup without Nigeria's Super Eagles - Mikel Obi
The former Nigerian captain, who wants Morocco to win the title or Argentina because of Lionel Messi, says the World Cup is nothing special without Nigeria.
Mikel said this at the Vyootopia Mission89 Africa Digital Sports Conference 2022 on Thursday.
The former Chelsea superstar was the personality spotlight at the colourful event held at Wave Beach in Lagos.
Pulse Sports Nigeria was at the conference with the theme adopting new technologies in digital sports and increasing opportunities for African youth in the sports industry.
World Cup not special without Nigeria
The 2022 FIFA World Cup has reached its crucial stages in Qatar, with Morocco the last team standing from Africa still in the competition which enters the quarter-final stage later today.
Nigeria missed out on the global showpiece after losing to Ghana's Black Stars on away goals during the qualifiers.
Speaking on the World Cup, the former Nigerian captain stated that while the 2022 edition has been amazing, there is nothing special since 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 has been an amazing tournament so far. No matter all the political things going on, i think we need ti talk about the football. It has been great and amazing. There have been surprises and shock results, which is something we like and want."
Morocco or Messi to win
The 2022 World Cup is down to eight teams from 32 as it enters the quarter-final stage today.
Ahead of the matches, the 35-year-old would love to see Morocco, the only African team left in the competition, go all the way to lift the title.
However, he added a caveat - should the Atlas Lions fail he wants to see Argentina take come the coveted crown because of Lionel Messi.
"I want an African team to win it, so, right now I am rooting for Morocco. But if Morocco doesn't win, I hope Argentina wins because of Messi."