Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Mikel expresses gratitude to Police for father’s rescue

Mikel expresses gratitude to Police for father’s rescue

Super Eagles' Head Coach Gernot Rohr has expressed his surprise with the revelation that Captain John Obi Mikel played with a heavy heart after learning of his father's kidnap before the game against Argentina, describing him as a true leader and champion of the national team, reports. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me what happened.

Mikel made a decision to hide the news from his teammates and coach so as not to destabilize the team and went ahead and played the game in Russian Federation, the midfielder said in a statement released by his management company on Tuesday.

Mikel Obi's father, Pa Michael Obi, was kidnapped on the day of the game on June 26, with the kidnappers threatening to kill him if word got out.

This is not the first time Pa Michael Obi has been kidnapped - he was abducted in 2011 before being freed, although authorities at the time would not reveal the circumstances surrounding his release.

Amazingly, Mikel kept the whole affair secret from his manager and teammates ahead of the game, claiming his father "would have wanted me to". "But in the end, I knew that I could not let 180-million Nigerians down", Mikel said.

In a post on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, Omokri wrote: "What @mikel_john_obi did in playing during the Nigeria V Argentina match despite the kidnap of his father was fearless and deserves commendation".

In a rescue operation this week, police were engaged in a shoot-out with the kidnappers who later abandoned Pa Obi, his driver and his auto.

John Mikel Obi's father however regained freedom after the ransom demanded by the hoodlums was said to have been paid to them by the Tianjin Teda midfielder. I thank the police authorities for their rescue efforts and the support I've received from friends and family members.

"I played while my father was in the hands of bandits", he said. He is now recuperating with family. "My family and I are grateful", he wrote.

He said they warned him against alerting the authorities or his dad would be shot "instantly".

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