Sunday Oliseh's stance on John Mikel Obi has been revealed to be a result of the Super Eagles legend feeling intimidated by the former Chelsea man.
In a discussion alongside Emmanuel Babayaro on The Athletes Podcast with Matthew Edafe, Oliseh revealed that Mikel is not a player who he would ever think to use in his team. He stated that while the Olympic bronze medalist was a good player who had achieved great things, he would take Wilfred Ndidi over him.
Both of them had a falling out when Oliseh was in charge of the Super Eagles between 2015 and 2016. The former Super Eagles captain benched Mikel and deployed home-based Paul Onobi in his stead in the holding midfield role. It was a widely criticised move, but Oliseh stated that the decision was due to Mikel's antics.
Oliseh's fallout with Mikel Obi
“When I coached the Super Eagles, I invited the man. There were lots of controversies. When you're someone that's principled, instead of saying that's your decision, they linked it to controversies,” Oliseh said on The Athletes Podcast.
“I invited the man to play with the Super Eagles. He didn't want to play. I was like, ‘Okay, we'll find another option.”
Oliseh was a toxic coach – ex-international
An unnamed former Super Eagles player, who claimed to be privy to inside information on the team at the time, has reacted to those comments by Oliseh which claimed that Mikel refused to play and that he did not have the skills he needed for his vision for the Super Eagles in his short stint as manager.
The unnamed ex-international told local media: “I think he was intimidated by Mikel’s status. He made reference to it severally, saying, ‘Because you are playing for Chelsea doesn’t make you bigger or better than I was in my days.’ even before he benched him, we all knew because, from the get-go, they didn’t get along.
The ex-international also made claims that Oliseh fell out with a number of other players in the team at that time. “It wasn’t just Mikel, to be honest,” he said. “He fell out with most of the big names in the team back then. Of course, the case of Vincent Enyeama made the headline but he also verbally attacked Elderson Echiejile severally to the point that he broke into tears. His reign as coach was toxic.”
Fans have reacted to the aspersions cast on Mikel by Oliseh in his podcast interview in various ways, but the most common reaction is that Oliseh was way out of line with his comments about Mikel.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago