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Macintosh: Liverpool denied by Rose

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Chelsea duo excused Nigeria friendly

Chelsea duo Jon Obi Mikel and Victor Moses have been given permission to miss Nigeria's friendly against Venezuela in Miami on Wednesday.

• Football Africa blog

Both players had originally been named in Stephen Keshi's squad for the fixture but have now been excused the trip.

Speaking on Monday, Nigerian FA officials said the Blues players had been allowed not to travel after "requesting time off to either deal with a personal issue and recover from a minor knock".

However, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo appears certain to lose both in January when Nigeria compete in the African Nations Cup in South Africa.

Keshi has named Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi in his squad. Last year, FIFA gave Ameobi clearance to play for Nigeria despite the fact he had played for England's Under-21s.

The coach said the call-up was "a big chance" for Ameobi to put himself in the frame for the African Nations Cup, telling the BBC: "He brings something special, a different dimension.

"This friendly is an opportunity for some players who have not featured in our recent games to show what they can do ."

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