Nigeria gives Mikel, Odemwingie the cold shoulder
ABUJA, Nigeria ● Nigeria have again omitted John Obi Mikel and Peter Odemwingie from their latest team, signalling a possible halt to their immediate international careers as coach Stephen Keshi seeks to rebuild.
The England-based pair are Nigeria’s highest profile exports but after being left out of World Cup qualifiers in June were again omitted on Saturday when Keshi named his squad for next month’s African Nations Cup qualifier against Liberia.
Chelsea midfielder Mikel, still only 25, has been ignored by Keshi since he took over as coach last year in the wake of Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup finals.
The 31-year-old Odemwingie, who scored for West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the season last weekend, has also been out of favour.
Both players have previously been accused of not committing wholeheartedly to the cause of the Super Eagles but Keshi, in a radio interview, said he had not shut the door on any players.
“We’ve called up players based on current form and ability to fit into our immediate plans,” he said of his selections for the final qualifying round, first leg tie in Monrovia on September 8.
Captain Joseph Yobo returns after injury and former England Under-21 international Victor Moses is included.
Nigeria meet Liberia over two legs to determine a place at the 2013 Nations Cup finals in South Africa. The return leg in Nigeria is to be played in October.