Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel played in a World Cup match against Argentina four hours after being told his father had been kidnapped for ransom back home and would be shot if anyone talked to the police.
“I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first,” Mikel said.
Mikel decided to hide the news from his teammates and coach so as not to destabilize the team. He went ahead and played the game in Russia, the midfielder said in a statement released by his management company Tuesday.
Mikel’s father, Michael Obi, was rescued from armed kidnappers by Nigerian police following a shootout in a remote, forest area in southeastern Nigeria on Monday.