According to Gernot Rohr, Mikel Obi is not retired and will return to the national team when he is ready.
Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi has told head coach Gernot Rohr that he is not yet ready to return to the Nigerian team.
The 31-year-old is the captain the Super Eagles but has been missing in action for the senior team.
Mikel was recovering from injury and was not named for the Super Eagles team for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) doubleheader qualifier against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya and ha now not been included in the team for the qualifier against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
Super Eagles supporters were hopeful of the captain’s return to the national team for the first time after the world cup only for him not to be included in the list.
In a report by Kwese ESPN, Super Eagles head coach Rohr revealed that the decision not to include the team to face South Africa was not entirely his.
Mikel who scored for Tianjin Teda in their home loss to Shanghai Shenhua has fully recovered from injury but is not yet ready to make a return to the team.
He said,"Mikel told me that he will tell me when he will be ready to come back. He didn't tell me yet. So I wait."
Rohr also confirmed that despite missing the Super Eagles last five games, Mikel is not yet retired and is expected to return to the team for the 2019 AFCON next year.
He said, "I hope that we can go with him to Afcon and win it for him."
With Wilfred Ndidi already out of the game against South Africa due to accumulated yellow cards, Rohr revealed why he did not call up Ogenyi Onazi.
He said, "I have to be aware of the health of our players. We didn't want to do injections on Achilles' tendons before the games.
"We have four defensive midfielders. [Oghenekaro] Etebo, Mikel Agu, John Ogu, and Semi Ajayi."
The Super Eagles have a chance to qualify for the 2019 AFCON if they beat South Africa before a friendly game against the Cranes of Uganda.