ABUJA - Injured Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel was named on Monday in Nigeria's preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup.
A knee injury kept the 23-year-old out of the London club's last three games in the title run-in but Nigeria Lars Lagerback is banking on his return to fitness for the tournament in South Africa starting next month.
The squad also marked a return for Everton forward Victor Anichebe, who had spent almost a year sidelined through injury, and John Utaka of FA Cup finalists Portsmouth.
The surprise omission was defensive midfielder Seyi Olofinjana of Hull City.
Nigeria play in Group B at the tournament against Argentina, Greece and South Korea.