Mikel's father kidnapped during WC

In a heart-wrenching interview with ESPN, Mikel revealed the kidnappers demanded N10 Million (R383k) for the safe return of his father, Pa Michael Obi - and threatened to 'instantly' shoot him if he reported the matter to the authorities.

His father was said to be adducted a week ago the call was made to the former Chelsea star just four hours before their crucial World Cup fixture with the last-16 berth on the line.

After being rescued by police after a 'gun duel', the veteran Super Eagles midfielder opened up about the horrific experience of not being able to talk about the ordeal, even to manager Gernot Rohr.

"I was confused. I did not know what to do, but in the end I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down," he said.

"I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.

"And I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game.

"So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it."