Head coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has said he is “very surprised” to learn that captain John Mikel Obi, played their last Group D game at the 2018 World Cup against Argentina, after hearing his father had been kidnapped.
Mikel Obi’s father, Pa Michael Obi, was kidnapped on the day of the game on June 26, with the kidnappers threatening to kill him if word got out.
They had demanded $28,000 as ransom.
The abductors contacted the Tianjin TEDA player just hours before kickoff and told him to remain silent; so he played without telling even Rohr of the situation.
Rohr only found out after Pa Michael was released on Monday.
“I was very surprised to hear this.
“I did not know about it because he did not tell me.
“But it shows that he has good mental strength to be able to play in this situation. He is a real leader,” he told KweséESPN.
However, Rohr said that even if he had known, he would have left the decision about playing to Mikel Obi.
“If I know about it, I would let him decide. No pressure.
“I have full confidence in him to make the best decision for himself, his family and his country.
“It is shocking that such a thing happens to anybody. And to somebody who represents his country,” the German added.