Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel is the new hero on Twitter Nigeria after it was revealed that he knew about his dad’s kidnapping four hours before a game against Argentina and still played for 90 minutes.
Mikel’s dad Pa Michael was on Monday, July 1 rescued by men of the Nigerian Police from kidnappers who adopted him on Tuesday, June 26.
On that same Tuesday, as Mikel Obi was in Russia preparing for Super Eagles crucial Group D clash against Argentina, he received a call from the kidnappers who asked for an N10m ransom and threatened to kill his dad if he informs the authorities.
Mikel didn’t tell anyone about the ordeal, not officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), his coach Gernot Rohr and his teammates.
He revealed this on Tuesday, July 3 when he said he went on to ‘could not let 180 million Nigerians down’.
After the revelation, Twitter Nigeria in unison hailed Mikel as a hero.
‘Not all heroes wear capes’
“Signed for Chelsea instead of Man Utd because the future of 3 other Nigerians depended on it. Paid bills for the Nigerian Olympic team in 2016. Played against Argentina even though his dad had been kidnapped. If Mikel Obi ever decides to run for Office, I will campaign for him,” a Twitter user Chydee wrote.
“Mikel Obi pays $4,000 unsettled Hotel Bills for the Nigerian Olympic team. 2018: John Obi Mikel plays for Nigeria against Argentina despite getting news that his Father had been kidnapped 4 hours before the match, Not all heroes wear capes,” another person with the handle @Rouvate wrote.
“Mikel got fired from Chelsea for playing for Nigeria at the Olympics against Conte‘s orders and paid the team’s bills. He played against Argentina in the #WorldCup, when his dad was kidnapped. He signed for Chelsea to help 3 Nigerians (Bala, Sarki, Obasi) sign for them. HERO,” Isima Odeh wrote.
“John Obi Mikel has said that he was told just 4 hours before kick-off against Argentina last week that his father has been kidnapped. This also happened back in 2011 whilst he was at Chelsea. During this time, he started 2 games for us. Don’t ever say this guy isn’t a legend,” a user with the handle @UberChelseaFC tweeted.
“Mikel Obi’s dad was reportedly kidnapped before Nigeria’s match vs Argentina, and the player was called 4 hours before kickoff by kidnappers who requested about 10 million Naira. Mikel still played that match…with a cast on his hand. Enough said,” @deejayfaremi said.
“So Mikel Obi was called four hours before the Nigerian game against Argentina about his father’s abduction by kidnappers. Still played his heart out in that game, even with a wrist injury. I’ve got so much respect for this man. He’s the definition of a leader,” @Shawnife_ wrote.
“Just saw this Mikel Obi story, I swear Mikel is the GOAT we don’t deserve. Got a call four hours before Argentina game from kidnappers to pay a ransom for his dad but still went ahead to play for his country even with his broken wrist. Great mental strength, my GOAT forever,” a Twitter user with the handle @t_riumphant said.
“No Mikel Obi slander from me again. He was courageous for playing against Argentina knowing his father was kidnapped,” Nigerian writer and Senior Editor at Pulse, Ayomide Tayo with the handle @AOT2 tweeted.
“Thought it was another fairy tale when i first heard it but knowing now it was true, the kidnap of Mikel’s father before the Argentina game, MIKEL OBI I TOTALLY RESPECT YOU AND YOUR COMMITMENT. SALUTE!!,” Nigerian sports TV personality Charles Anazodo said.
“I watched Mikel Obi being interviewed after the Argentina game. I’ve NEVER seen him that emotional.Dude was almost choking on his tears as he couldn’t even find the words. And there l was, thinking the loss must’ve been so painful. Not knowing his father was in kidnapper’s den!,” @9jaBloke twitter.
This is not the first time Mikel will go ahead to play a game despite prior knowledge of his dad’s kidnapping.
It was just less than 24 hours before Chelsea’s opening Premier League game of the season in 2011 when the midfielder was informed of his father’s disappearance by the then Chelsea manager, André Villas-Boas, and the club’s technical director, Michael Emenalo.
After speaking with his mother, though, the player elected to take part in the game, despite his personal pain.