Super Eagles’ Captain, Mikel Obi, revealed that his father, Pa Michael Obi, was kidnapped right before Nigeria played against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Obi also made it known that he chose not to inform team officials about the incident.
According to Obi, he got the phone call informing him of the incident while on a bus to St Petersburg. Obi’s father was taken on his way to a funeral.
Here’s what he said about the incident:
‘I played while my father was in the hands of bandits. I had to suppress the trauma. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me what had happened. I was emotionally distraught and I had to make the decision about whether I was mentally ready to play. 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 my friends knew. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.’
‘I also did not want to discuss it with the coach [Gernot Rohr] because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to him or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. As much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not.’
‘Thankfully, my 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.’