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Another Chelsea player out as Mikel fails to shrug off knee problem

| 05.06.2010

As the number of days before the start of the World Cup keeps on falling, the amount of injuries to tournament players is steadily rising.

John Obi Mikel is the latest key figure to be ruled out of the event in South Africa after failing to shake off a knee injury.

The Chelsea midfielder – the club’s fourth player to suffer the fate – told team officials he wanted to safeguard his future career by not rushing back to action too soon.

Mikel had established himself as an important player in Lars Lagerback’s side, featuring in four of the country’s final six qualification games as well as captaining Nigeria in Joseph Yobo’s absence. The Super Eagles are 11/10 to qualify from Group B.

Mikel follows club team-mates Michael Ballack and Michael Essien as a certainty to miss the tournament in its entirety, but the other crocked Chelsea star, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, received some positive news.

Drogba, who has notched 44 goals in 69 appearances for his country, underwent emergency surgery on a broken bone near his elbow last night and has now retracted his statement that the injury would force him to miss out.

The Ivorian Football Federation confirmed: “He’s not at all out of the World Cup. He can still play.”

Such a turnaround will reignite interest in Drogba getting goals in South Africa. He is 25/1 to claim the Golden Shoe.

How do you think African nations will do at the World Cup? The continent is 12/1 to supply the winner of the tournament.



John Klee