Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel reveals his father was kidnapped hours before Argentina World Cup 2018 clash

Mamos Media

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel played against Argentina last Tuesday just four hours after his father had been kidnapped.

The former Chelsea midfielder, 31, kept quiet about his ordeal after kidnappers demanded 10 million Nigerian naira (around £21,000) for the safe return of his father, who they threatened to shoot if the authorities were informed.

Pa Michael Obi was travelling to a funeral in south east Nigeria when he was abducted on June 26. Police rescued him almost a week later on July 2 after what ESPN report as "a gun duel", with Mikel's father being taken to hospital for multiple stitches after been tortured.

Speaking to ESPN, Mikel said he chose not to tell either the Nigerian Football Federation or his coach Gernot Rohr about his ordeal before the match, which Nigeria lost 2-1 to a late Marcos Rojo goal to exit the World Cup .

"I was confused. I did not know what to do, but in the end I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down," Mikel said.

"I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.

"And I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it."

Mikel – who plays for Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA – flew to England, where he still has a home, to deal with the incident, and he is now scheduled to return to China.

This is the second time his father has been kidnapped following a previous incident in 2011 when he was released after 10 days.

Source: Culled from

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