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May 17, 2012

Mikel omitted from Nigeria squad

Nigeria have left John Mikel Obi out of the squad for next month's World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifiers.

John Utaka and Sone Aluko have been given recalls while in-form Wigan forward Victor Moses makes the cut, but coach Stephen Keshi said Chelsea midfielder Mikel had omitted to allow others the chance to shine.

"Mikel is in my plans but we will give other players an opportunity as well," Keshi said. "We need to give players from the local league a chance. After all, how many knew about such players as Uche Kalu, Ejike Uzoenyi or Godfrey Oboabona before now?"

Keshi has so far only named the Europe-based players for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Namibia and Malawi and 2013 African Nations Cup first-round second-leg qualifier against Rwanda in South Africa.

Overseas players in Nigeria squad

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Petach Tikva)

Defenders: Joseph Yobo (Fenerbache), Efe Ambrose (Ashdod), Elderson Echiejile (Sporting Braga)

Midfielders: Fengor Ogude (Valerenga)

Forwards: Ike Uche (Granada), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Sone Aluko (Rangers), John Utaka (Montpellier), Victor Moses (Wigan)

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