The talented young Nigerian midfielder John Mikel Obi has ruled himself out of the World Cup. He has had to cut his time short with the Nigerian squad in an attempt to keep his playing career alive.
The 23-year-old, who has 30 caps for his country, was the last player to meet up with the squad at their Essex, England training base. He had been recovering from minor surgery in early May, but after cutting short two consecutive training sessions with his countrymen, and two warm up games, he has withdrawn from the squad.
A Nigerian spokesman said, "We have dropped Mikel from the squad after he said he did not want to risk his career."
Uncapped Brown Ideye, a striker from French club Sochaux, has been called up as replacement for Mikel Obi.
Mikel Obi has joined the ever-increasing list of Chelsea players that have been ruled out of this year's World Cup. Ghanaian Michael Essien and Michael Ballack of Germany are also missing out through injury, while Didier Drogba is a major doubt after fracturing his elbow in the warmup game against Japan.