I heard dad had been kidnapped not long before key clash: Mikel
John Obi Mikel has revealed he was told that his father had been kidnapped just hours before last Tuesday's World Cup match between Nigeria and Argentina.
The former Chelsea midfielder and Super Eagles captain was told the news that father Pa Michael Obi had been abducted in south-east Nigeria while he was on board the team coach.
Mikel didn't tell anyone what had happened before the match in St Petersburg and went on to play as Nigeria went out of the tournament after a 2-1 defeat.
His father has now been released after police back in his home country stepped in and is being treated in hospital for trauma after a week-long ordeal.
"I played while my father was in the hands of bandits," he said. "I had to suppress the trauma. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me what happened.
"I was emotionally distraught and I had to make the decision about whether I was mentally ready to play. I did not know what to do but, in the end, I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down.
"I was told they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported it to the authorities or told anybody. Thankfully, my father was safely released on Monday."