John Obi Mikel opened up about the heartbreaking time his father was kidnapped in 2018 just hours before playing the biggest match of his career.
Pa Michael Obi, Mikel’s father, was imprisoned the night before Nigeria’s World Cup match against Argentina in Russia.
In actuality, it was his second kidnapping; the first occurred in 2011 and left him imprisoned for ten days.
The legendary Chelsea player talked about how, only two hours before that crucial game, he got a call from relatives.
During an extensive conversation on talkSPORT with Jim White and Simon Jordan, Mikel spoke about one of his worst experiences.
“My dad was abducted while I was playing for the national team in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and we were going to play Argentina [in the last group stage match],” he stated.
“My brother called me two hours prior to the game to inform me that my dad had been abducted in Nigeria twice.”
Not once but Twice
When he was originally abducted, I communicated with the kidnappers and they demanded a large sum of money, which I finally paid them before my dad was freed.
However, the second incident occurred when I was representing my nation and I received a call from my brother informing me that my father had been abducted again.
That was really startling. It was surprising the first time, but more frightening the second time since I was about to enter one of the greatest games of my life.
It was devastating to learn that my dad had been abducted once more.
“I was unable to exit the room. Not that I could tell anyone. For nearly half an hour, I was alone myself in the room, wondering what to do. Should I let the manager know? Should I let my teammates know? Or ought I to announce something?
John Obi Mikel Decides to play
But the greatest game of our lives is about to begin. We are going to play Argentina and Lionel Messi.
“So I gave it some thought. I thought, well, what do you know? I’m going to remain silent. My brothers and mother were sobbing when I phoned them.
They were advising against going out to play since you won’t be able to do it well.
“I took time on my own and I decided that I’m going to go out there and perform. I’m going to go out there and play.