Nigerians Abroad

Mikel opens up on father’s kidnap on matchday of Argentina clash: I didn’t tell the team to avoid distraction

Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has revealed that he featured in Nigeria’s World Cup clash against Argentina last Tuesday despite knowing his father was in the custody of kidnappers.

Mikel, who was in action for the entirety of the game against Albiceleste, stated that he chose to keep the news to himself as the kidnappers threatened to gun down his father if he raised an alarm.

Report has it that Mikel was informed of his father’s kidnap four hours before the Group B showdown clash in St. Petersburg, with the abductors demanding a ransom of N10 Million for the old man’s release.

The Nigeria Police rescued Pa Michael Obi alongside his driver after a gun fight on Monday, July 2, six days after his kidnap and the old man had to be rushed to the hospital to stitch up cuts he suffered from the series of torture inflicted on him while in detention.

Speaking to KweseESPN after his father’s rescue, Mikel stated that he opted to keep mute to ensure the incident did not distract the team ahead the clash against Argentina.

“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.”

The Super Eagles lost the game 2-1 to Argentina with Lionel Messi and Marcos Rojo netting once each for the South Americans and Victor Moses scoring Nigeria’s lone goal.

Worthy of note, Mikel’s father was also kidnapped in 2011 and kept in detention for ten days before his release.

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