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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 July 2007, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Nigeria stand firm on Mikel
By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Mikel Jon Obi
Mikel Jon Obi suspension remains in effect according to the NFA

The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) say they will not be pressured in to lifting the suspension of Mikel Jon Obi from all national teams.

NFA spokesman Ademola Olajire said: "Mikel remains suspended indefinitely because this is a statement about discipline."

The 20-year-old was suspended by the NFA when he pulled out injured from a qualifier against Uganda last season.

A club-versus-country row erupted between English side Chelsea and Nigeria over the nature of the injury.

The London-based club were accused of failing to release the midfielder for an independent medical assessment.

'Fifa mandate'

According to a mandate from football's world governing body Fifa, the player's hamstring problem should have been assessed by Nigeria's doctors before he was deemed 'injured' and unable to play.

Mikel's failure to turn up in Uganda led Berti Vogts to drop the player from the Nations Cup side that defeated Niger 3-1 in a qualifier last month.

The boy remains out of the fold and in the cold
NFA spokesman Ademola Olajire

The Chelsea star had said he would return to the international fray for Nigeria before the 2008 African Nations Cup finals in Ghana.

However, NFA spokesman Ademola Olajire added: "The senior team coach does not want him yet and the under-23 chief coach does not need him.

"The NFA Chairman is not making any statement regarding Mikel and will not be doing so anytime soon." he told BBC Sport.

"No one can pressure the NFA into taking any decision on the matter soon since his case is a direct deterrent to others.

"The boy remains out of the fold and in the cold."

'Clear the air'

Although Nigeria coach Berti Vogts said two weeks ago that he will seek a meeting with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at the start of the season to clear the air over Mikel Jon Obi's international future.

"The league in England starts in August and I will go and speak to (Jose) Mourinho and also to Mikel," Vogts said.

"I have to know what happened. He is a young boy and maybe the club put him under pressure, I don't know."

Nigeria suspend Chelsea star Obi
21 Jun 07 |  African
Injured Obi out of Nigeria squad
06 Jun 07 |  African
NFA unhappy with Blues over Obi
28 May 07 |  African


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