Chelsea footballer pleads with kidnappers to release his father
Published 16/08/2011 | 05:00
CHELSEA footballer John Obi Mikel has spoken of his devastation at hearing, just hours before his team's opening Premier League game of the season, that his father had been kidnapped in Nigeria.
Michael Obi failed to return to his home in the city of Jos, in the country's Plateau province, on Friday evening. In an interview with Sky Sports News, Mikel confirmed his father had not been seen since and pleaded with his captors to release him.
No ransom demand has been made, but Mikel -- who will miss this weekend's game with West Bromwich Albion, although he has been advised not to return to his homeland -- believes his father was targeted.
"My family have always lived in Jos. They will know who my father is and who his son is. All I would say to the people who have him is please let him go. He is an old man. He has not done any harm.
"I have always done my best to help my country. Now it is time for my country to help me. Whoever has got him, or whoever knows where he is, please contact me."
Mikel was informed of his father's disappearance less than 24 hours before the club's opening Premier League fixture against Stoke. After speaking with his mother he decided to play.
"She told me to go out and be strong," he said. "I did not want to let the team or the club or the fans down. The other players did not know. I did not want them coming up to me and saying how sad they were." (© Daily Telegraph, London)