John Obi Mikel kicked against the introduction of Ramon Azeez in place of the injured Ogenyi Onazi during Nigeria’s second-round loss to France, report has confirmed.
Rumours about ‘sectional’ disinterest in the Super Eagles camp for the Almeria midfielder was rife prior to the African champions’ World Cup last-16 exit and was eventually played to the camera.
Azeez was kitting up to come on for the injured Onazi, but it was Reuben Gabriel who eventually made it on to the pitch.
“Mikel made it very clear to (Stephen) Keshi that he did not wish for Ramon to play alongside him in the midfield and that was why Azeez was asked to sit down and in his place Reuben was brought in,” a top team official is quoted as saying on AfricanFootbll.com.
“Should it be the player or the coach who should effect a substitution?”
Nigeria failed to progress into the last-8 of the World Cup, despite the huge level of optimism its fans had on the squad.
Having drawn their opening match with Iran, they went on to edge Bosnia and Herzegovina by a lone goal before losing to Argentina and France.