Mikel in Nigeria squad
Nigeria have named a preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup, with John Obi Mikel selected.
Last Updated: 10/05/10 10:00pm
Nigeria have named a preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup, with Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel among eight Premier League players in the party.
Mikel is currently sidelined with a knee injury and he will miss Chelsea's FA Cup final clash against Portsmouth at Wembley on Saturday.
However, he is expected to be back to fitness by the end of the month and should be available to claim his place in the final 23-man squad for the World Cup.
Joining Mikel in new coach Lars Lagerback's squad is Portsmouth striker John Utaka, who was overlooked for the African Cup of Nations at the start of the year.
Fellow Pompey forward Nwankwo Kanu is in the squad and there is also a place for Bolton Wanderers defender Danny Shittu.
Everton trio Joseph Yobo, Yakubu and Victor Anichebe, along with Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu, complete the Premier League contingent.
Monaco's promising midfielder Lukman Haruna is in the squad, while goalkeeper Akpan Bassey and defender Peter Suswan are the only members of the party who play their club football in Nigeria.
Lagerback, who replaced Amodu Shaibu as coach earlier in the year, has also moved to dismiss suggestions he has been under pressure to select certain players.
The Swede said: "Individual skills and fitness levels were considered when picking the players, so it does not matter if a player is 20 or 35 years old."
Nigeria open their World Cup campaign against Argentina on 12th June before facing Greece and South Korea in Group B.
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Dele Ayenugba (Beni Yehuda FC), Bassey Akpan (Bayelsa United), Austine Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva)
Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Marseille), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow) Onyekachi Apam (Nice), Joseph Yobo (Everton), Daniel Shittu (Bolton), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam), Rabiu Afolabi (Salzburg), Peter Suswan (Lobi Stars)
Midfielders: Kalu Uche (Almeria), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham), John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Sani Kaita (Alaniya), Lukman Haruna (Monaco), Ayila Yussuf (Dynamo Kiev), Peter Osaze (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Forwards: Yakubu Ayegbeni (Everton), Victor Anichebe (Everton), Chinedu Obasi (Hoffenheim), Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth), Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg), Ideye Brown (Sochaux), Ikechukwu Uche (Zaragoza), John Utaka (Portsmouth), Peter Utaka (Odense), Victor Obinna (Malaga)