There is genuine cause for alarm over the match fitness of influential Nigeria captain Obi Mikel ahead of the national team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles early next month.
Mikel watched Tianjin Teda’s home game against Henan Jianye from the stands on Friday afternoon after he was omitted from the 18-man match day squad.
The former Chelsea star resumed full training with Tianjin Teda this week after recovering from a knee injury he suffered during the high-intensity match against CQ Dangdai Lifan on July 21.
Chinese Super League rules stipulate that teams can use three foreign players at most in a match, and the number of foreign players on-field in one match must be no more than the number of U23 domestic players.
Tianjin Teda manager Uli Stielike opted to select foreigners Johnathan (Brazil), Frank Acheampong (Ghana) and Felix Bastians (Germany) ahead of Mikel.
Since the resumption of the Chinese Super League, Mikel has now missed five games for Tianjin Teda, one as a result of an automatic suspension due to accumulation of yellow cards.