Mikel Obi reveals his father was kidnapped
“I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody,” former Chelsea star, Mikel Obi recounted according to Kwese ESPN after the release of his father.
Mikel revealed his father was kidnapped just hours before Nigeria’s match against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup.
“I played while my father was in the hands of bandits. I had to suppress the trauma. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me what had happened,” Mikel revealed.
The Super Eagles Captain was left between maintaining the code of silence and pleasing over 150 million expectant Nigerian fans.
Faced with the threat that any attempt to say a word about the arrest, his dad will be shot, the Nigeria captain opted against informing the Nigerian FA.
According to the Guardian reports, Mikel was travelling on the team bus to St Petersburg when he received a phone call from a family member informing him of his father’s situation.
He was given a phone number to contact the kidnappers, who ordered him to pay a ransom.
Pa Michael Obi was abducted in Nigeria on his way to a funeral. He was tortured but eventually released as a result of police intervention, and is currently receiving emergency treatment in hospital.
“I was emotionally distraught and I had to make the decision about whether I was mentally ready to play. 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. I could not even inform the coaches or NFF staff and only a very tight circle of my friends knew.
“I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody. I also did not want to discuss it with the coach [Gernot Rohr] because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to him or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. As much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not.
“Thankfully, my father was safely released on Monday afternoon. I thank the police authorities for their rescue efforts and the support I’ve received from friends and family members. Unfortunately, my dad is now in hospital receiving emergency treatment as a result of the torture he received during his capture.”