The captain of Nigeria's national football team, John Obi Mikel, has revealed he was told his father had been kidnapped four hours before the crunch World Cup game against Argentina, which saw the West African nation knocked out of the tournament, the UK Guardian news site reported.
Pa Michael Obi was abducted in south-east Nigeria as he travelled to a funeral along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway from Jos, the report says.
Police secured his release on Monday, Mikel said, adding that he had been tortured and was now in hospital.
The June 26 incident was the second one, his father having been kidnapped in 2011.
He said that he only shared the distressing news with a few close friends but not with any of the Nigerian team officials or his team-mates.
I played while my father was in the hands of bands...I had to suppress the trauma," Mike was quoted saying.
"I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported (it) to the authorities or told anybody.
"I was confused. I did not know what to do but, in the end, I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down. I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent mu country first.