Mikel granted leave by Nigeria
Nigeria have given John Obi Mikel permission to skip their World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 07/10/08 10:19am
Nigeria have given John Obi Mikel permission to skip their World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone on Saturday.
Chelsea had asked for the midfielder to be left out of action in order to allow him to work on his fitness and put himself in contention for the Blues' next Premier League fixture at Middlesbrough on 18th October.
Nigerian team official Emmanuel Attah confirmed Mikel had been excused from the squad for this weekend's match.
"The Nigeria Football Federation and Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari have agreed that Mikel skip this game so as to concentrate fully on his club career," he said.
"We agreed to this because we want the player to fully establish himself at the club while also improving the working relationship between us and the overseas clubs of our players."
Dynamo Kiev midfielder Ayila Yussuf and Portsmouth winger John Utaka will also miss the Sierra Leone clash through injury, with Yussuf replaced in the squad by Femi Ajilore.
Nigeria have already qualified for the next round of qualifying for both the 2010 World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola after taking maximum points from their five games so far.