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Chelsea ace Mikel dropped by Super Eagles

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 17 – Nigeria have left Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi out of their squad for a series of World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has called for Mikel to declare his readiness to feature for the team.

Mikel has yet to play for the Super Eagles since Keshi took charge of the side in November, but the coach insisted that the Chelsea ace remains very much part of his plans.

“Mikel is in my plans but we will give other players an opportunity as well,” said Keshi on Thursday.

“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?”

Austin Ejide, Fengor Ogude, Efe Ambrose, Elderson Echiejile and John Utaka have all been recalled in a group of 11 players based overseas, which also features Wigan Athletic forward Victor Moses.

Nigeria will name another squad of 18 players from the domestic league, who are due to fly out this weekend for a friendly in Peru.

The Super Eagles will host Namibia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier on June 3 in Calabar, before travelling to Malawi as the qualifying series continues the following weekend.

They are also due to host Rwanda in a second-leg qualifier for the 2013 Nations Cup to be hosted by South Africa.

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Overseas-based players called up by Nigeria

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

Defenders: Joseph Yobo (Fenerbache/TUR), Efe Ambrose (Ashdod/ISR), Elderson Echiejile (Sporting Braga/POR)

Midfielders: Fengor Ogude (Valrenga/NOR)

Forwards: Ike Uche (Granada/ESP), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Sone Aluko (Rangers/SCO), John Utaka (Montpellier/FRA), Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic/ENG)

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