The father of Nigeria’s soccer captain was kidnapped hours before their final World Cup game

On June 26, as Nigeria took on Argentina in a crucial World Cup game, captain John Obi Mikel was in a dilemma: only four hours before the game, he learned his father had been kidnapped for ransom.
Mikel did not tell teammates or the manager as the kidnappers had threatened to kill his father if the news was disclosed. To secure his release, the China-based soccer star was asked to pay a 10 million naira ($28,000) ransom.


“I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first,” Mikel told Kwese ESPN. Nigeria lost the game and were knocked out of the World Cup.

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