Nigeria did not have a World Cup of their liking as they bowed out of the group stages losing 2-1 to Argentina in their final group game. Nigeria played extremely well in their second match against Iceland but failed to keep up the momentum against Argentina which put an end to their hopes of qualifying to the knockout stages.
All the people who are following the World Cup are aware of Nigeria’s heartbreaking loss to Argentina. But what they do not know is a terrifying truth about Nigerian skipper John Obi Mikel. The former Chelsea player stepped onto the field against Argentina knowing that his father was held captive by kidnappers.
Mikel did not have the choice of informing the authorities as he was threatened by the kidnappers that his father would be shot dead if the news was made public.
He was quoted as saying in a report by the Guardian:
“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 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.”
According to Mail Online, Mikel kept things to himself as he did not want the team to suffer mentally or get distracted before such an important game. He went on to the field and led the boys bravely. But the good news is that his father has now been released and is in the hospital. He has been receiving treatment for the torture he received during the kidnapping.
“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.”
This brave act by the Nigerian captain will be remembered by everyone forever. It takes a heart of a lion to take such decisions in life and we bow down before John Obi Mikel for showing such courage.