By Joshua Odeyemi
Super Eagles Head Coach, Sunday Oliseh has said Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi did not make his 18-man list of foreign-based professionals to prosecute the 2017 AFCON qualifier against Tanzania because he snubbed him.
Oliseh, while responding to questions from reporters at a media parley in Abuja yesterday, said he made efforts to meet with the midfielder while in London to discuss the direction of the new national team but that his calls were ignored.
“We spent almost 11 days going around Europe, speaking to players and watching games and I contacted each of the players the same way and called them up, call the clubs and eventually, I met with the players.
“We fixed our visit of England to coincide with Chelsea’s return from their pre-season tour two days before they play Arsenal and I contacted Obi Mikel, called him up four times, the phone kept on ringing and nobody picked it up. I sent him an SMS and got no response,” he disclosed.
Oliseh added: “I never got a call back from Obi Mikel until I got back here. I checked my phone and saw a missed call just yesterday. At the moment I don’t know what the situation is. But for me, everybody is the same.”
On Victor Moses who also plays for Chelsea FC, the gaffer said though he met and discussed with the winger, he didn’t make his list to Tanzania because he is not playing regularly presently.
“I called Victor Moses up, the phone rang three times before he picked it up. I spoke with him and told him to concentrate on his game and that we will meet after the game. After the game, he came to my hotel, we spoke and I made him understand that my priority is to build a new team and that everybody starting from zero and that I needed to see players playing.”
Speaking about the players invited to camp, Oliseh said his team to Tanzania will be picked on merit notwithstanding either a player is based in Nigeria or abroad.
“I want to be clear about one thing, if anybody is going to play for the Super Eagles; they are going to be treated the same way. I have told the players who are playing at home; home-based professionals don’t exist only Nigerians exist. If you are the better Nigerian, you will play.
“But we are going on three fronts, we have the Nations Cup, the CHAN and the World Cup to prepare for. There are a lot of games for everybody. So, we are just going to move along and try everybody out and see what we ask each player to do in each position and how they can carry it out,” he noted.
The Super Eagles are preparing for their first game under Oliseh’s reign against Tanzania in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on September 5 in Dar es Salam.
Source: Daily Trust