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Mikel Snubbed Eagles’ Call-Up, Oliseh Reveals

Apparently no longer able to cope questions being asked concerning his list of invited foreign-based professionals for next month’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against Tafia Stars of Tanzania, head coach of the Super Eagles Sunday Oliseh said on Thursday that John Mikel Obi snubbed all attempts to reach him before the compilation of the list. Not a few have queried the exclusion of certain players, especially Mikel, Odion Ighalo and Victor Moses.

While Oliseh on Tuesday explained that Ighalo was left out because he is not needed for the assignment in Dar es Salam, but assured that the Watford striker is in his long term plan, Moses told the media that he cupped an injury. Oliseh, however, on Thursday said Chelsea midfielder Mikel ignored his invitation, which was why he was left out of the squad. “I called John Obi Mikel to be a part of my team but he never responded,” Oliseh said at the Super Eagles media parley in Abuja.

“I’ll treat all players equally and no one is bigger. All the players I called responded, only Mikel didn’t, we have to go without him.” But despite the alleged invitation snub, Oliseh has refused to preempt the 28-year-old who was said to have stayed away from a meeting with the Super Eagles gaffer recently in London.

“I can’t judge John Mikel Obi until I’ve seen him, spoken to him and he plays for me,” said Oliseh “You can judge people. He’s a good player and he’s still in our plans but like I said, the best will play and those playing for their teams will also play.” This is not the first time Mikel will be accused of ignoring the invitations from the national team.

Former Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi revealed that the Chelsea midfielder did not reply his messages before he left him out of the team to face Chad in the 2017 African Nations Cup qualifiers in June. “When I heard that Mikel was injured I tried severally to get him on phone to ask after his health but surprisingly he did not pick the calls.

I sent text messages too but up till now that I speak with you he hasn’t called back or sent me text,” Keshi said at that time. Instead of representing his country in the AFCON qualifiers, Mikel instead chose to spend his summer holidays with his girlfriend, Olga Diyachenko in Dubai. Olga has posted a series of photos of herself and her boyfriend on a summer trip to Dubai.

-Oladipo Okubanjo

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