By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua)
-- Nigeria star John Obi Mikel
revealed on Tuesday that he was told his father had been
kidnapped just hours before he captained the side in their final
World Cup Group D match against Argentina on June 26.
Mikel told The
Guardian newspaper he was in the Nigeria team bus on the way to
the stadium in St Petersburg when he received a call from a
family member saying his father had been taken by kidnappers
demanding a ransom.
“I had to suppress
the trauma. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me
what had happened,” he explained.
“I played while my
father was in the hands of bandits,” Mikel told the paper.
The player admitted
he had been distraught, but that “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 staff and only a very tight circle of
my friends knew,” continued Mikel.
The player informed
the paper he was told the kidnappers “would shoot my dad
instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody,” and
that he had kept the kidnap a secret because “I did not want my
issue to become a distraction on the day of such an important
Mikel’s father was
kidnapped in southeast Nigeria and although he was subsequently
released, Mikel confirmed that he had been tortured by his
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,” he said.