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  • John Obi Mikel Out of "Mandela Challenge", Keshi Says No "Lele"

    Reporter: Football Content Provider
    Published: Tuesday, 13 August 2013
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    Igesund Plans Upset,Nigeria,South Africa, Super Eagles, Bafana Bafana, Mikel Obi, Stephen Keshi.NFF,

    Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has revealed that Chelsea midfield star, John Mikel Obi, will not be available for Wednesday’s Mandela Challenge against Bafana Bafana in Durban, South Africa due to a stomach upset he picked up while on tour with his EPL side.

    Late on Monday, Chelsea doctors wrote to the NFF asking that the player be excused for health reasons. Keshi obliged and said on Tuesday morning in Durban, that he will not want to push Mikel too much because of the September 7 World Cup qualifier against Malawi in Calabar.

    All the other 19 players are already in Durban for the game, including Mikel’s Chelsea teammate, Victor Moses. Keshi also on behalf of the team prayed for the soul of his late national teammate, Samson Sochukwuma Okwaraji, who died on August 12, 1989 during a World Cup qualifying game against Angola in Lagos. “We pray for the repose of his soul and for the family he left behind, we missed him badly but God knows best”, Keshi said before Monday evening training session.

    The weather here in Durban can be funny. In the mornings, its bright and warm but by evenning time it drops very low to about 18 degrees but the players are used to such weather and don’t see it as a hindrance to their game against Bafana.

    South African Coach, Gordon Igesund has already said his wards are battle ready for the African champions, when he exchanged warm plesantries with Keshi at the nearby Southern Sun hotel, where the Bafana Bafana is camped. The atmosphere looked charged with many South Africans saying they are eager to end Nigeria’s dominance over their teams at all levels and there could be no better time than now that they are African champions.

    Keshi simply waved it off by saying its only football that will be seen on Wednesday and not war and his wards are ready to honour Nelson Mandela and defend the national colours of Nigeria.


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