Former Nigeria midfielder Edema Fuludu says Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi, must earn his place in the squad to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Mikel has been a regular player for Chelsea since the coming of interim coach, Guus Hiddink.
The 29-year-old is believed to be one of the three overage players Nigeria coach Samson Siasia intends to take the 2016 Rio Games.
He said, “I believe Siasia has a relationship with him (Mikel) after their disagreement before the Beijing 2008 Olympics. “Mikel has been criticised many times for failing to step up his game and I think he has adjusted that in recent matches
“If he keeps the fine form he has exhibited so far for both club and country, I think he deserves a chance if Siasia needs him in the midfield. If Mikel really needs the Olympic record, he has to work for it. If the coach is convinced that he will work for the overall success of the team and not just to make an appearance there, then he should be given a chance. If he eventually makes the team, I believe his experience will work and help in stabilising the team.”
The Tunisia’ 94 Africa Cup of Nations winner advised Siasia to stick largely to the home-based players.
Fuludu said, “At the Under-23 level, clubs are not bound by FIFA to release their players for the Olympics. It is a matter of understanding that could be reached between the clubs and the country’s football federation.
“I will advise him to stick with the available home-based players who he is sure will be available when the time comes. These players haven’t done badly in the matches they have played. They have accounted for 90 per cent of the games he has played so far. He should rely mainly on them.
“He should only add some overseas-based players to make the team stronger. This where the NFF needs to help him.”