Chelsea ‘pun­ish­ing’ Mikel over Olympics

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

ABUJA: Nige­ria coach Ger­not Rohr claims Mikel Obi is be­ing “pun­ished” by Premier League club Chelsea for play­ing at the Rio Olympics. Mikel, 29, missed most of Chelsea pre-sea­son as he helped his coun­try win a bronze medal at the foot­ball event of the Sum­mer Olympic Games. He has yet to play for his Lon­don club this sea­son even af­ter he re­joined them in Au­gust. Rohr was re­cently on a work­ing visit to Eng­land and met with Chelsea of­fi­cials. “There is a rea­son why Mikel is not play­ing for Chelsea right now and that rea­son is be­cause he played for Nige­ria at the Olympics,” Rohr said. “I can­not pun­ish a player who loves his coun­try and shows that he loves the green jersey.

“I spoke about this with Mikel and the club’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor (Michael Eme­nalo). Mikel is train­ing very well and he plays games in train­ing with the big play­ers at Chelsea.” De­spite his lack of games for Chelsea, Rohr said Mikel will start a de­ci­sive World Cup qual­i­fier against Al­ge­ria in the south­ern Nige­ria town of Uyo on Satur­day. “He is here with us and he is fit and I hope he can play for 90 min­utes against Al­ge­ria but if it is not pos­si­ble, we shall see,” said Rohr. “He is an in­flu­en­tial player and I ex­pect him to mo­ti­vate oth­ers from the open­ing minute, but what I can­not tell you is if he has the strength to play full time.” — AFP

Mikel Obi

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