John Obi Mikel - Vlad1988 /

Mikel’s father released by kidnappers

The World Cup journey is over for Nigeria, and it’s time for them to start focusing their attention on the future. They’ve got a solid core of young players that should be able of leading them to success in the African Cup of Nations next year, and beyond that, they’re more than capable of qualifying for Qatar in 2022. All they need to do is believe, and while that may sound a little bit ridiculous, we’ve seen how much belief can take you forward in an international tournament – just look at the Russians beating Spain in order to qualify for the quarter-finals of the tournament.

John Obi Mikel - Vlad1988 /

John Obi Mikel – Vlad1988 /

Alas, it’s hard to focus on the future when there’s so much negativity going on around you, and John Obi Mikel will testify to that. The former Chelsea midfielder led the Super Eagles into Russia as the captain, and as such, there was a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. While they wound up crashing out of the tournament nobody can deny that they were an entertaining side to watch, even managing to defeat Iceland 2-0 before they eventually fell at the feet of Argentina. There’s no shame in that, and for Mikel, he should be able to hold his head up high as he moves on with his career. But from a personal standpoint, Mikel has been dealing with a personal issue for nearly a week now after his father was kidnapped.

Michael Obi has now been released, but at the time, the individuals who took him were demanding around $28,000 in order to secure his freedom. He was forced to walk three or four miles in the pouring rain, although no physical harm was said to have been brought upon him apart from that. Unfortunately, this is extremely common in Nigeria and it doesn’t seem like a problem that will subside anytime soon, and bizarrely enough, this isn’t even the first time that it’s happened to John Obi’s father specifically. More often than not the ransom is paid, and it seems as if that was the case again here.
It’s another bitter pill to swallow for John Obi who was likely on the edge of his seat for days, not long after Nigeria also experienced their World Cup exit. Still, it’s all about how you bounce back from these things, and we have no doubt that Mikel will come back stronger than ever.

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