Cranes test Taifa Stars, Obi Mikel in doubt

By Vision Reporter

THE Super Eagles of Nigeria have been hit by an injury crisis that shows no signs of abating. John Obi Mikel is the latest victim. The Nigeria and Chelsea star has almost been ruled out of next week’s qualifier against Cranes as a result of a recurring hamstring injury.

By F. Kaweesi in Kampala and R. Olita in Nairobi

Today,
4.30pm
International friendly

Uganda v Nigeria
Nations Cup qualifier
June 2

Uganda v Nigeria


THE Super Eagles of Nigeria have been hit by an injury crisis that shows no signs of abating. John Obi Mikel is the latest victim. The Nigeria and Chelsea star has almost been ruled out of next week’s qualifier against Cranes as a result of a recurring hamstring injury.

While Cranes, who engage Tanzania in an international friendly today, are enjoying a clean bill of health, the Super Eagles will feel demoralised over Mikel’s injury.

Nigeria tactician Berti Vogts yesterday admitted that the 20-year-old’s likely absence would certainly be a blow for a side already likely to do without assistant team captain Joseph Yobo and midfielders Seyi Olofinjana (back) and Yusuf Ayila (broken leg).

“We have already sent an SOS to the Football Association of Nigeria seeking replacements,” Vogts, who tests his depleted side against Kenya tomorrow, told reporters in Nairobi.

“I will devise strategies against Uganda after and we will then leave for kampala on Thursday after breakfast,” he added.
His counterpart Laszlo Csaba meanwhile gets an opportunity to determine solutions to his sides’ defensive troubles when Cranes engage Tanzania’s Taifa Stars at Nakivubo.

The German tactician will use the friendly to unearth a stand-in for suspended first team defender Andrew Mwesigwa.
“The only problem I have now is deciding which player will replace Andy (Mwesigwa). For me that is the big problem. The game will specifically be used to resolve that,” Csaba stressed yesterday.

Csaba will first examine whether Ethiopian-based defender Hassan Wasswa and Richard Malinga offer a perfect ‘plan B’ in the central defence.
The 42-year old will then be in position to decide who among the two will partner Timothy Batabaire.

Eugene Ssepuuya is the other player who will certainly be determined to impress Csaba with hope of securing a wild card into next week’s starting team.
The former SC Villa striker had recently been criticised for being unfit.

Csaba will also assess the movement and reaction of his charges in the final third of the pitch.

Cranes test Taifa Stars, Obi Mikel in doubt