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Chelsea's Mikel Obi reveals death threats over Nigeria row

Posted by Guardian Newspapers on 2007/02/12 | Views: 749 |

Chelsea's Mikel Obi reveals death threats over Nigeria row


John Obi Mikel was forced to go against Chelsea demands he duck this week's international for Nigeria after his family received death threats.

John Obi Mikel was forced to go against Chelsea demands he duck this week's international for Nigeria after his family received death threats.

The Chelsea star went against his manager's orders to play for Nigeria on Tuesday night.

Mikel, 19, said: "Nigerian fans were threatening my family back home. They believe I have started picking the games I play for my country. People are still angry that I didn't play in Lesotho for the 2008 African Championship qualifier in October.

"Only a few people know what I have been through at home in the past due to this situation. It was just too much for me to handle or control. It's a shame that things turned out this way but only God knows what would have happened to my family if I had stayed away from this game."

Chelsea wanted to withdraw Mikel from the Nigeria squad for the game against Ghana at Griffin Park after he suffered a thigh strain.

But he played a full 90 minutes in his country's 4-1 defeat and Chelsea have complained to FIFA over the incident.

Mikel said: "Was Jose Mourinho angry with me for playing? Definitely. He was totally disappointed in me but I just hope I can explain things to him and then we'll see what happens. Hopefully he will understand what I have been through and the severe pressure I was put under. I had severe pain after our last game at Charlton and I was advised not to play on Tuesday. I did explain this to the Nigeria team officials and, when the pressure was on, I spoke with the Chelsea team doctor who explained to me that I needed to rest my body.

"He told me that if I needed to get on the field, it should be for only one half of the match. But the fact that another midfielder, Marseille's Wilson Oruma, was ruled out of the game due to a calf injury, meant the whole thing became extremely complicated.

"There was just too much pressure from the Nigerian football officials and, even though I tried to explain things to them, they refused to hear me out."

Mikel, who joined Chelsea from Lyn Oslo for 16m last summer, clashed with Mourinho in December over his poor time-keeping and sulking.

Mikel insisted: "I think the manager believes in me. He had a little problem with me last year but we have sorted that out and everything is now OK.

"The presence of the other African players like Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou and Geremi has been a blessing for me.

"They make me feel at home here in London."

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.