Tianjin Teda of China midfielder, John Mikel Obi has disclosed that news of his father’s kidnap affected him during the Super Eagles’ match against Argentina, which the Nigerian team eventually lost 2-1.
Mikel said he heard about his father’s kidnap on the eve of Nigeria’s crucial last group match at Russia 2018 and, though he mustered courage to line out as captain of the side, the former Chelsea star says he was not himself throughout the game in Saint-Petersburg.
Though Mikel was silent on whether he actually paid N10m to affect his father’s release from the den of abductors, the Nigerian captain
Mikel remarked: “Following various speculators about recent occurrence with my father. I can confirm I had to suppress emotional trauma to lead Nigeria out against Argentina last Tuesday 26th June in Saint Petersburg.
“Four hours before kick-off, I received a call from Nigeria that my father Pa Michael Obi had been kidnapped for the second time.
“He was on his way to a funeral in south eastern Nigeria from Jos when he was abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway.
“I could not even inform the coaches or NFF staff, and only a very tight circle of members my friends knew
“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. I was emotionally distraught but had to make a decision about whether I was mentally ready to play the game.
“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 had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first.
“Thankfully he is now safely released less than seven hours ago. I thank the police authorities for their rescue efforts and support from friends and family members.”