John Mikel Obi has not played a single minute of football this season for Chelsea, with Chelsea coach Antonio Conte preferring the likes of Kante, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Loftus Cheek and Oscar to Mikel Obi.
Nigeria's chief technical adviser Gernot Rohr has blasted Chelsea coach, saying he is punishing the Nigerian captain for missing out on pre-season preparations with Chelsea as he helped Nigeria's U-23 team win the Rio 2016 Olympics football Bronze medal.
"I can never punish a player because he played for his country, and I am not happy with what is happening to Mikel at his club because he is my captain.' Rohr told journalists at a press conference in Uyo.
”The only thing that has not made Mikel to play for Chelsea this season is because he went with the U23 team that won bronze at the 2016 Olympics games, and that is why he is being punished” the Super Eagles coach said.
''He has not featured under the new coach, Conte, since then. But I will still build the team playing against Algeria around him because he is in a good shape and fit for the match.
“Besides, Mikel is committed to the national team and he is a source of motivation to the other players.”