It has been revealed that John Obi Mikel played in the crunch game against Argentina last Tuesday, despite the fact that his father was being held for ransom. Mikel didn’t tell anyone because the kidnappers threatened to shoot his father instantly if the authorities were informed.
Mikel told KweseESPN that he received a call from the kidnappers 4 hours before kickoff in that crucial World Cup clash in St. Petersburg and they demanded N10 Million [$28, 000] for the safe return of his father, Pa Michael Obi.
According to reports, Pa Obi was on his way to a funeral in south-eastern Nigeria from Jos when he was abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway on the 36th of June. He and his driver were rescued by the police after a “gun duel” on the 2nd of July, nearly a week after the kidnapping.
Pa Obi was then taken to hospital for treatment, with family sources revealing to KweseESPN that he was tortured and needed multiple stitches. Pa Obi returned to hospital on Tuesday after some of the sutures broke and Mikel is considering flying his father abroad for better treatment.
Speaking to KweseESPN, John Obi said that he didn’t tell his bosses at the NFF nor his coach, Gernot Rohr but instead kept it to himself and opted to face Lionel Messi’s team as if nothing had happened.
“I was confused. I didn’t know what to do, but in the end, I knew that I couldn’t let 180 million Nigerians down”, Mikel said.
Pa Obi was eventually rescued by the Nigerian Police on Monday at Egede, near Udi in Enugu state. The news was announced by the Enugu State Police Command via their official Twitter account and only then did Mikel Obi feel comfortable enough to speak about the incident publicly.
Superintendent of Police, Ebere Amaraizu said in a statement on Tuesday, “The abductors started calling to demand N10 million before police operatives acted on intelligence information and swooped on them. In the process of the rescue, a gun duel ensued between police operatives and the kidnappers which forced the hoodlums to abandon their victims inside the forest after which the victims were promptly rescued”.
This is the second time Mikel Obi’s father has been kidnapped. The first was in 2011, where he was released after 10 days.
According to Mikel’s advisor, security will be improved around the player’s family.
Credit: Colin Udoh/KweseESPN