Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has been ruled out of the World Cup due to injury, according to a team official.
The Chelsea midfielder has been struggling to shake off a knee problem after undergoing surgery in recent weeks and has now told his country's football bosses he did not want to put the injury into further risk.
'We have dropped Mikel from the World Cup after he told the team he did not want to put his career at risk as his knee injury has yet to fully heal after a recent surgery,' said team co-ordinator, Emmanuel Attah.
Mikel has been closely monitored since joining his team-mates at theirpre-tournament training camp on the outskirts of London a week ago, with coach Lars Lagerback repeatedly giving reassurances over his fitness.
He was rested in a game against Colombia over the weekend and the Swede explained 'there was nothing wrong, but it was just a precaution'.
Yesterday, the 23-year-old trained fully with the rest of the squad for the first time since they arrived at their World Cup base in Durban.
Attah also confirmed that officials from the Super Eagles camp are currently meeting to decide on a replacement - likely to come from the seven players axed by Lagerback who were part of the preliminarily squad.
The Nigerians wrap up their preparations for the finals with a friendly against North Korea in Johannesburg tomorrow.
Nigeria have called up uncapped Brown Ideye to replace Mikel. Brown, who plays for Sochaux in France, was one of the unlucky seven players to be dropped from the Super Eagles squad earlier this week.
However, there are now conflicting reports regarding the injury suffered by Mikel,with media officer Idah Peterside saying it was an ankle injury rather than theknee problem team co-ordinator, Attah, had earlier blamed.
'Mikel suffered a bruise to his ankle and a scan showed that he will not recover on time,' said Peterside.
'The coach has now decided to call up Brown Ideye to replace him.'
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