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

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

Mikel has represented his country at the last two World Cups and has won 85 caps in total, scoring six goals.

Mikel said in a statement from his management company that he hid the news from his teammates and coaches in Russian Federation and "had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first".

The Nigerian police rescued his father, Michael Obi, on Monday from a remote area in southeastern Nigeria, six days after Mikel received a phone call as he was headed to the stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia.

That allowed the player to talk about the incident publicly.

Both Pa Obi and his driver were later rescued by police following a "gun duel", nearly a full week after their kidnapping, before being taken to hospital for treatment to wounds their captors had inflicted.

Super Eagles captain Mikel reportedly paid a ransom of 10 million naira (about £21,000) for his release, and his unhurt father is now "recuperating with family".

It is the second time that he has been kidnapped, with the first one being in August 2011.

Mikel played the full 90 minutes of the match against Argentina, with the late 2-1 defeat resulting in Nigeria failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup.

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Mikel played for Chelsea, one of Britain's biggest soccer clubs, from 2006 to 2017 before moving to Tianjin Teda in China past year. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me what happened.

"I was told they would shoot him instantly if I reported it to the authorities".

Pa Michael Obi was abducted in south-east Nigeria as he travelled to a funeral along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway from Jos.

According to Enugu State Police Command spokesperson Ebere Amaraizu: "The abductors started calling to demand a ransom of N10 million before police operatives acted on intelligence information and swooped on them". He moved to Chinese club Tianjin Teda previous year.

The criminals snatched Pa Obi while he was travelling by auto to attend a funeral in south-eastern Nigeria.

However, Rohr said that even if he had known, he would have left the decision about playing to Mikel Obi.

Amazingly, Mikel kept the whole affair secret from his manager and teammates ahead of the game, claiming his father "would have wanted me to".

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