Mikel and brother plead for help in finding father

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The Independent Football

John Obi Mikel's brother admits he is still in the dark as to the whereabouts of their father, who has been abducted in Nigeria.

Michael Obi has been missing since he left work on Friday afternoon in the Nigerian city of Jos.

Yesterday, Chelsea midfielder Mikel gave an emotional interview in which he pleaded for his father's safe return after his management team issued a statement confirming the abduction.

Mikel's elder sibling, Nigerian Premier League player Ebele Obi, yesterday spoke of the emotional turmoil he has had to endure since the disappearance of his father and admitted police are no closer to finding him.

"We still have not heard anything from anybody. It is very, very sad. He went to work on Friday and we have not seen or heard from him since then," Ebele said. "He [Obi Snr] always drives himself to work and back. That fateful day, we were trying to reach him on his phones without any luck. The phones kept ringing but no one was taking the calls. After a while, the phones stopped ringing. That is the situation till this moment.

"We are doing all we can to get him back [but] unfortunately we have not heard anything from anyone and without information it will be difficult for us to act."

Police in Nigeria have appealed for help in finding Mikel's father, who runs a transport company, but are yet to be contacted by the kidnappers.

Former Lyn Oslo player Mikel was clearly upset when he gave an interview to Sky Sports News, in which he 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 has been taken.

"Nigeria is the country I am from, I've always tried to help my country in any way I can, playing for my country or anything," he said.

"This is a time where I need the country to help me. Whoever has got my dad, whoever knows where my dad is, please contact me and, hopefully, he can be released."

Mikel heard about his father's abduction on Sunday morning but still turned out for Chelsea in their 0-0 draw at Stoke later that afternoon.

Mikel is not the first Premier League player to have had a family member abducted in Nigeria. In July 2008 the elder brother of the Everton defender Joseph Yobo was kidnapped in Port Harcourt. Nornu Yobo was released after 10 days but it was never made clear whether a ransom was paid.

The Genk midfielder Kevin de Bruyne hopes he can secure a move to Chelsea by the end of the month after claiming negotiations have begun over a possible transfer to Stamford Bridge. The 20-year-old caught the eye of a number of Europe's top clubs last year by putting in a series of impressive performances to help Genk lift the Belgian title.

"My manager went to Chelsea on Wednesday and discussions have been good," said De Bruyne, who is currently sidelined with a calf injury.