Need Breaking Updates?
Subscribe Now and Receive Breaking Stories directly to your email inbox daily
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.
NIGERIA are set to welcome John Obi Mikel back from injury when they face South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Wednesday (8pm BST).
Former Chelsea star Mikel is expected to overcome a knee problem and feature for the Super Eagles when they take on South Africa for a spot in the last four.
The Nigeria midfielder underwent light training in a recovery session on Sunday morning, having limped out of the 2-0 defeat to Madagascar last week.
The injury ruled Mikel out of the Round of 16 victory over Cameroon as Gernot Rohr’s men fought back from 2-1 down to win 3-2.
Former Watford striker Odion Ighalo scored twice and Arsenal ace Alex Iwobi bagged the winner in the thrilling match-up, cancelling out goals from Stephane Bahoken and Clinton Njie.
Mikel could come straight back into the starting XI, having been deployed as a No 10 earlier in the tournament.
Rohr was positive about the veteran midfielder’s progress, saying: “Mikel is trying to run already, so we will see if he could be fit one time for [South Africa] clash.”
There is more good news for Nigeria with Shehu Abdullahi in contention after recovering from a hamstring issue suffered against Burundi.
“We hope that Shehu [Abdullahi] can come back, he was on the bench [against Cameroon],” Rohr said.
Ighalo should continue to lead the line while Ahmed Musa will start on the left and Iwobi is likely to demote Moses Simon to the bench.
Wilfred Ndidi will line up next to Stoke’s Oghenekaro Etebo in central midfield while Ola Aina and Chidozie Awaziem should start as full-backs.
Kenneth Omeruo is set to retain his spot in central defence alongside William Troost-Ekong while Daniel Akpeyi will start in goal.
The Super Eagles are three-time AFCON winners, last lifting the trophy back in 2013, while South Africa have a solitary triumph from back in 1996.