By Richard Jideaka, Abuja:
Former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, has debunked claims that Mikel Obi's inability to get playing time at Chelsea this season under Antonio Conte is a form of punishment from the manager because the player represented Nigeria at the Rio Olympics in Brazil, Completesportsnigeria.com repo
Siasia who led the Nigeria U-23 Olympic team to a Silver medal finish at Beijing 2008 Olympics, insists Conte made it clear that Mikel was not in his plan for Chelsea before the Rio 2016 Olympics, and that was the reason he allowed him to go.
"I don't believe Mikel was being punished because he went to the Rio Olympics with the Nigerian team. Conte does not have him in his plans. That was why he even allowed him to go to the Games and he bought Kante as a replacement. So all these talks about being punished is not true," Siasia tells Completesportsnigeria.com.
"As far as I am concerned Mikel has paid his dues with Chelsea and had won whatever is there to win with the club, and there is no better time to move on than now. After serving the club for over 10 years, there can be no better time to leave than now."
He continues: " Mikel told me that he has made up his mind to leave Chelsea, and if he does not leave in January, he would leave in the summer.
"He has excelled for both club and country, and does not deserve to just be a squad member at Chelsea. He should be playing regular football."
Siasia believes that Mikel will definitely get a club in any league of his choice, adding that his impressive form for the Olympic Eagles at the 2016 Rio Olympics and for the Super Eagles is enough to get him a good club when he leaves the Stamford Bridge.