JOHN OBI MIKEL played in Chelsea’s goalless draw at Stoke yesterday despite knowing his father had been abducted in Nigeria.
His dad Michael was seized in Jos on Friday but the midfielder refused to sit out the Premier League opener at the Britannia Stadium.
Mikel, 24, said: “I got the message on Saturday afternoon after training when the manager sent for me.
“He told me there was asituation and said my dad was missing. My family didn’t want me to know until after the game but the manager wanted to tell me.
“He asked me if I wanted to play still and that was where it started from.
“At this point, we haven’t heard anything. There’s been no phone calls and my dad’s phone is not receiving calls.”
Michael, who runs a transport company, has not been seen or heard from since he failed to return home from work in Jos, the capital of Plateau State in central Nigeria.
Mikel added: “Jos is a very safe place, there’s never been situations like this and it is very rare.
“People in Nigeria do know who my dad is and that I’m a footballer, definitely.
“It was really difficult for me to play against Stoke but I told the manager I didn’t want to let the team, my club or my family down.
“If I didn’t play, I think my mum would have been very sad. She told me to go out there and play.
“My team-mates don’t really know what is going on, although I’ve told Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou now.
“My message to whoever has my dad is please contact me so we can get him released. He is an old man and hasn’t done any harm to anyone.”
Mikel’s agent John Ola Shittu said: “He is totally devastated. We were not sure whether to tell him before the game.
“But after speaking to Andre Villas-Boas we agreed that he had a right to be informed of such a serious incident.
“He was under a lot of stress but he showed a lot of character and mental strength to play against Stoke.
“The family in Jos reported him missing at the police station as expected but we’re taking all necessary measures to find him.
“We’ve told him to be brave and to stay calm.”