Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder John Mikel Obi has appealed for the release of his father who has been missing since Friday and believed kidnapped.
Michael Obi owns a transport company in the Nigerian city of Jos, where the football star’s family lives. On Friday he failed to return home and his son believes he has been abducted.
Obi’s managers issued a statement on Twitter confirming the kidnapping and said no ransom demand had so far been received.
The player’s London club also issued a statement of suppoert.
“Everyone at Chelsea Football Club was very concerned to hear that John Mikel Obi’s father has been reported as missing and possibly abducted,” the London club said in a statement.
“We will give Mikel and his family our full support at this most difficult time.”
Speaking to Sky Sports News the emotional player said, “Please just let him go. He’s just an old man, he hasn’t done any harm to anyone as far as I know and I don’t know why he’s been taken.”
Despite receiving news of his father’s disappearance Obi went ahead and played in Chelsea’s opening match of the new season on Saturday.
“It was really difficult. I said I would like to play the game, I didn’t want to let my team down, I didn’t want to let the club down. I just wanted to get on with it,” he said.
Kidnapping is big business in Nigeria but more often targets wealthy businessmen and foreign oil workers although in recent years well-paid footballers who play in European leagues have been targeted.