John Obi Mikel told father had been kidnapped four hours before Nigeria’s World Cup game

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John Obi Mikel has revealed that he was told his father had been kidnapped just four hours before Nigeria’s World Cup clash with Argentina.

The 31-year-old was informed by a family member whilst travelling with Nigeria’s squad to the Saint Petersburg Stadium last Tuesday.

Mikel, who captained Nigeria for their final game in Group D against Argentina, was ordered to pay a ransom after speaking to the kidnappers on the phone.

Mikel’s father Pa Michael Obi was abducted when he was travelling from from Jos, while the kidnappers demanded N10 million (£22,000) for his release.

‘I had to suppress the trauma. I took a call four hours before kick-off to tell me what had happened,’ Mikel told The Guardian.

Obi Mikel was told about his father’s abduction before Nigeria faced Argentina. (Getty Images)

‘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 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.’

Pa Obi was rescued by Nigerian police on Monday and is being treated in hospital.

It is the second time Pa Obi has been kidnapped after being taken hostage in 2011.

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