Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has said that the team needs to work harder and find a way to kill matches after Friday’s 1-1 draw against defending African champions Zambia in Mbombela.
The Group C encounter was one of the most anticipated fixtures of the first round and it lived up to its billing with Nigeria earning a penalty kick in the first half after Ahmed Musa was brought down in the box by Nkausu Davies.
Chelsea’s Mikel stepped up to take the spot kick but saw his shot saved by Kennedy Mweene. He redeemed himself in the second half when he won a tackle and released Emmanuel Emenike to score on 57 minutes.
Mweene emerged hero for the defending champions when he converted a late penalty to make the game 1-1.
“I think we did well, the team did really well but again we conceded [late in] in the game,” said Mikel.
“We have to keep working, we have to keep believing in what we do and in the way we play.
“Hopefully in the last game we will get the three points that we need to qualify for the quarter finals.”
About his missed penalty attempt, Mikel said: “It’s one of those things in the game, penalty is not an easy task but we went ahead again and I think we should learn more how to keep a lead.
“We just have to keep concentrating and keep doing what we’re doing.”
With two points apiece, Nigeria will play Ethiopia while Zambia will play Burkina Faso in the last group game on Tuesday as they seek quarter final tickets.