john obi mikel left out so he can recover from injury

10:15    03 Oct 2018

Nigeria's John Obi Mikel
Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has been excluded from their latest squad in order to recover from injury.

The 31-year-old has not played for the Super Eagles since the 2018 World Cup in Russia, leading to speculation over his international future.

The Chinese-based player was the most notable absentee from manager Gernot Rohr’s squad for their upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya.

"Mikel has been excused because he is just recovering from injury in China and needs time to fully regain fitness," team spokesman Toyin Ibitoye told BBC Sport.

"We expect him to be available for the November game against South Africa."

Rohr has made three changes to his squad compared to the group which did duty against the Seychelles last month.

Kelechi Nwakali, Simeon Nwankwo and Joel Obi have made way for Watford's Isaac Success, fit-again Levante forward Moses Simon and Bursaspor defender Shehu Abdullahi.

The squad is also boosted by the return of Alex Iwobi, as well as defenders William Troost-Ekong and Ola Aina – the trio all pulled out ahead of the match with Seychelles due to injury.

Nigeria are placed third in Group E of the qualifiers, one point behind co-leaders Libya and South Africa.

Nigeria squad:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Elche FC/Spain), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba, Nigeria), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United/South Africa).

Defenders: Ola Aina (Torino FC/Italy), Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC/Turkey), Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United/England), Brian Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow/Russia), Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto/Portugal), William Ekong (Udinese FC/Italy), Leon Balogun (Brighton and Hove Albion/England), Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes/Spain), Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07/Germany).

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC/Turkey), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/England), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC/England), John Ogu (Hapoel Be'er Sheva/Israel).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr FC/Saudi Arabia), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City/England), Moses Simon (Levante FC/Spain), Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK/Turkey), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai/China), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal/England), Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux/France), Isaac Success (Watford/England).

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