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Mikel: I Faced Argentina Knowing My Dad Got Kidnapped

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has revealed that he faced Lionel Messi's Argentina last Tuesday knowing that his father had been kidnapped and was held for ransom.

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The midfielder's father, Michael Obi, was on his way to a funeral when he and his driver were abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway on 26 June, and the thugs involved were said to be demanding a fee of 10 million nairas (R380 000) for their safe return.

In an exclusive interview recently, Mikel explained that he did not tell anyone about the incident because of the kidnappers' threats to shoot his dad if the authorities were informed.

"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," Mikel told ESPN.

"I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. 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."

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Mikel's father and his driver were rescued by police after a reported "gun duel" on 2 July, a week after the kidnapping.

Would you have played a crunch World Cup game knowing that one of your family members had been kidnapped? Have your say in the comments section below.

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