Super Eagles skipper Mikel Obi says he was informed of his father’s abduction a few hours before Nigeria played Argentina in a World Cup group game.
Pa Michael Obi, Mikel’s father, was rescued on Monday after being kidnapped for the second time in seven years. The police had said Pa Obi and his driver, John Ishaya, were abducted on Makurdi-Enugu Road on June 29.
In a statement made available to TheCable by Mikel’s publicist, the midfielder said he had to suppress his emotions to play against Argentina.
“Following various speculators about recent occurrence with my father,” Mikel was quoted to have said. “I can confirm I had to suppress emotional trauma to lead Nigeria out against Argentina last Tuesday, June 26 in Saint Petersburg.
Four hours before kick-off, I received a call from Nigeria that my father Pa Michael Obi had been kidnapped for the second time. He was on his way to a funeral in south-eastern Nigeria from Jos when he was abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway.
I was emotionally distraught but had to make a decision about whether I was mentally ready to play the game. I was confused. I did not know what to do, but 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 NFF staff, and only a very tight circle of members my friends knew. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.
And I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game.
So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it. Thankfully he is now safely released less than seven hours ago. I thank the police authorities for their rescue efforts and support from friends and family members.”