Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has called on the Nigeria Football Federation to do everything possible for the team to avoid distractions such as bonus payment, uncomfortable travel arrangements as the Eagles chase qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Eagles lead group B with three points and they are looking to cement their hold on the group when they play against Algeria on November 12 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
Mikel, speaking against the back drop of the drama that played out before they Eagles travelled to Ndola to beat Zambia 2-1, noted that proper planning will go a long way to make the team concentrate on playing football.
“For us to succeed we need to put things in place as early as possible and let the players focus on football, and not dealing with issues like flight and other things off the pitch,” Mikel said.
He recalled the experience with the Nigeria Under-23 team at Rio 2016 and wished that such embarrassing moments never happened in Nigeria football.
“I don’t think any team or country can go through what we went through in Brazil and perform the way we did,” Mikel told BBC Sport.
“To arrive at a tournament a couple of hours before your first game and still end up with a medal was an outstanding team performance.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the same problem [arriving on match day] we are facing now, but it is still the same issues that need to be sorted out,” said Mikel.
However, Mikel stated that he will put lessons that he learnt in Brazil to use.
“This is where my experience comes in and make sure I keep the team together. I don’t let whatever is happening outside distract the team,” Mikel added.
“I try to take in all the problems, I deal with it myself and I only speak to the players when there is good news.”