1 February 2013

Nigeria: CAF Record Clears Mikel for Elephant's Clash

Contrary to speculations that John Mikel Obi may miss Super Eagles Sunday's clash with Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire in the quarter finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, available facts on CAF website Thursday gave the Chelsea star a clean bill of health to be part of the much anticipated encounter.

CAF listed Mikel to have only received a caution card in Eagles last group match against Ethiopia. Going by CAF's rule, players who receive just one yellow card were allowed to play in subsequent matches as the caution is waved. Only those with two are ineligible.

The rule automatically eliminates Vallerenga FC of Norway player, Fegor Ogude, from the game with the Ivoriens.

Nigeria has the second highest number of yellow cards during the group stage. The Eagles bagged 10 yellow cards to place second behind Togo. Ahmed Musa, Ogude, Efe Ambrose (two that led to his expulsion and subsequent missing of the match against Zambia), Godfrey Oboabona, Emmanuel Emenike, Mikel and Nosa Igiebor got the cards that have been waved with the end of the group stage. Ogude's two yellow cards are responsible for his missing Sunday's clash with the Ivoriens.

Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, had told THISDAY at the team's Wednesday training at the Olympiadon Stadion in Rustenburg that he was not sure Mikel got a second caution apart from the one flashed at him against Ethiopia.

He lamented that the absence of Ogude from the crucial game against the Ivoriens would be felt, insisting that the Norway-based player was a key character in his game plan for the 2013 AFCON.

"We are going to miss him against the Elephants on Sunday. He is one player I rely on so much as he delivers for me," stressed the former Togo and Mali gaffer.

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