Chelsea star's father kidnapped in Nigeria

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 15 2011 10:29 PM | Updated as of Aug 16 2011 06:29 AM

LAGOS - The father of Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel has been abducted in his homeland, but no ransom demand has been made, the player's representatives said on Monday.

Michael Obi, who runs a transport company, was seized on Friday, Sport Entertainment and Media Group said.

Mikel, 24, played from start to finish in Chelsea's opening English Premier League match of the season, a 0-0 draw at Stoke City on Sunday, knowing that his father had gone missing.

"SEM confirms that client John Obi Mikel's father was abducted in Nigeria on Friday, August 10," the firm, Sport Entertainment and Media Group, said in a statement. "Thus far no ransom demand has been received."

The player was informed of the situation before Chelsea's match against Stoke but decided to play "so as not to let down his team and family," the management company added.

There has been no trace of Obi since he failed to return home from work in Jos, the capital of Plateau State in central Nigeria.

Mikel's agent John Ola Shittu said the family had not heard from anyone claiming to hold his father captive, according to the BBC.

"It's been tough for the young man," Shittu said of the Nigerian international.

"The family in Jos reported him missing at the police station... but we're taking all necessary measures to find him.

"We've told him (Mikel) to be brave and to stay calm."

Nigerian police confirmed th eplayer's father had been reported as missing, but could not yet provide details, including whether there were any witnesses.

"The case of the man was reported to us on Saturday morning," Emmanuel Ayeni, police commissioner for Plateau state, told AFP.