Nigeria captain hid dad’s abduction, played World Cup match

Nigeria captain hid dad’s abduction, played World Cup match

Nigeria captain hid dad’s abduction, played World Cup match

John Obi Mikel, captain of the Nigerian football team, revealed that his father was kidnapped hours before their match against Argentina.

The kidnappers demanded a ransom of $28,000 for Mikel's father, according to Nigerian police in the southeastern state where his father was rescued. He decided not to say anything before the game because he didn't want to create any distractions for his teammates or jeopardize his father's safety.

"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. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody".

Mikel confirmed on Tuesday that he took the field to face Lionel Messi's Argentina in their final 2018 World Cup fixture - with the knowledge that his father was being held at ransom.


Police in the southern state of Enugu said in a statement they had rescued the father, named as Pa Michael Obi, along with his driver unhurt in the Egede-Udi forest at around 2.30 pm (1330 GMT) on Monday following a "gun duel". The two men had been held by the kidnappers for almost a week after being abducted on a road while traveling from the central city of Jos to a funeral in the southeastern state of Enugu.

Mikel's father was rescued after firing was exchanged between police and the abductors.

It is the second time Mikel's father has been abducted.

On that occasion, Michael Obi was kidnapped in Jos and rescued in the northern city of Kano, 190 miles away, 10 days later.

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