John Obi Mikel sat down with talkSPORT to recount the chilling episodes where his father faced kidnapping twice. Astonishingly, the latter incident unfolded hours before Mikel was due to play against Argentina at the 2018 World Cup. He had to navigate a labyrinth of tough choices amidst these daunting trials.
Mikel’s heartfelt story reveals the personal battles that athletes sometimes endure alongside pivotal career moments. Additionally, it underscores the compassion and backing he received from the football community. This includes Roman Abramovich and Liverpool, during this strenuous period for him and his peers.
A Father’s Abduction Repeats
In 2011, the abduction of Pa Michael Obi began this distressing journey. The incident compelled John Obi-Mikel to engage with the kidnappers. He had to arrange his father’s freedom by paying a hefty ransom. Tragically, the ordeal resurfaced in 2018, just before Mikel’s significant match.
Mikel vividly describes the moment he got the shocking call from his brother about their father’s second kidnapping. This news blindsided him as he was preparing for a key World Cup match against Argentina. The news thrust him into a whirlwind of emotional conflict. Battling immense emotional stress, Mikel chose not to disclose the kidnapping to his teammates and coaching staff. Furthermore, he worried that sharing the news could shatter the team’s concentration and impair their match against the formidable Argentine team.
Mikel details spending close to thirty minutes in turmoil, isolated in his room, deliberating over informing the team. He knew the stakes were high, balancing his father’s safety with the team’s unity and focus. In the end, Mikel took to the field, keeping the kidnapping a secret. Nigeria may have lost the match. However, Mikel’s revelation of the kidnapping post-game moved his teammates and coaches, who had no inkling of his inner struggle.
The Football Community Rallies Support
During this ordeal, John Obi-Mikel received an extraordinary offer from Roman Abramovich. The Chelsea owner was ready to dispatch help to Nigeria for his father’s rescue. This showcases a deep commitment to his players’ well-being.
Mikel also acknowledged Liverpool for their support towards Luis Diaz. Diaz was facing a similar plight with the kidnapping of his parents in Colombia. Moreover, Mikel’s commendation reflects the strong bonds within the football fraternity in times of adversity.
He successfully secured his father’s release by paying a significant ransom. Moreover, Mikel sent a resonating message of solidarity and courage to Luis Diaz and his family. Furthermore, he empathized with the helplessness that accompanies such traumatic events and encouraged Diaz to remain steadfast. He highlighted the deep impacts these events have on the families involved. Moreover, Mikel urged Diaz to stay strong and take decisive action to ensure his father’s safe return.
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