Mikel snubbed me, says Oliseh


Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh has revealed that he was snubbed by Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel during his recent trip to England.

It was the reason the player was ignored from the squad that would face Tanzania next month.

Oliseh said on Thursday in Abuja that he had attempted to reach out to the midfielder ahead of the Community Shield game against Arsenal but he was rebuffed by the 28-year-old’s decision not to respond to his phone calls.

“I met with the players when I went to England on Thursday, the day Chelsea was coming back from a tour before they played Arsenal in the Community Shield,” said Oliseh.

“I put a call through to John Obi Mikel. I called him four times, the phone kept ringing. I sent him a text message, I got no response. I called Victor Moses, the phone rang three times.

“And I spoke with Moses, I told him to concentrate on his game and after the game he came to my hotel room where we spoke and I made him understand that my priority is building a new team and everybody is starting from zero and I needed to see players playing.

“From there I made a trip to Liverpool. You all know about it [meeting with Jordan Ibe], everybody knows. I spoke with other players and their parents and I never got a call back from Obi Mikel until I traveled back home. But just yesterday I saw a missed call on my phone so at the moment I don’t know what the situation is now.

“For me everybody is the same and every player we call answers. To us it’s not up to me but I want to clear one thing: if anybody wants to play for the Super Eagles, we will all be treated the same way.

“I even told the players playing at home that home based players for me doesn’t exist, if you are a better player in Nigeria we will play you. The thing is that I have not spoken to him and I made efforts but no response, so I don’t know what to do. You people should tell me what to do, I don’t know,” Oliseh asked.

Nigeria continue to prepare for their first game under Oliseh’s reign as they take on Tanzania in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on September 5 in Dar es Salam.