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Nigeria captain played in World Cup hours after learning of father’s kidnapping

John Obi Mikel played against Argentina after being told his father would be shot if he reported the incident.

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel played his country’s crucial World Cup game with Argentina in the knowledge his father had been kidnapped and was at risk of being shot.

The former Chelsea player said he was told four hours before the game about the incident.

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

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John Obi Mikel in action (Tim Goode/PA)

Nigeria lost last Tuesday’s game in St Petersburg 2-1 after a late Argentina goal, and were eliminated from the World Cup.

Mikel’s father, Michael Mikel, was freed in the southeastern state of Enugu on Monday.

It is the second time his father has been kidnapped in Nigeria.

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