Nigerians have been hailing Mikel as a national hero for going ahead with playing the match despite the huge emotional distraction and noted it wasn’t the first time the 31-year old veteran has made personal sacrifices for his country.

Amid increasing insecurity in Nigeria, kidnappings have become rampant with high net-worth individuals and their relatives often targeted. In a high profile case in Lagos last year, parents of six pupils abducted from a government-owned school paid 31 million naira ($86,000) for their release. Ransoms are likely quietly paid without media coverage in some cases.

Soccer stars like Mikel, who spent a decade playing in the lucrative English Premier League can easily be targeted. Indeed, it’s not the first kidnapping ordeal for the Obi family. In 2011, Pa Obi was kidnapped but released after 10 days. Former finance minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s mother was kidnapped for ransom in 2012, but released after a five-day ordeal.

It’s not the first time a family has been thrown in disarray during a World Cup. 24 years ago this week, Andrés Escobar, Colombia’s former captain, was murdered after he scored a decisive own goal against the United States to knock his country out of the 1994 World Cup. Escobar was not the only casualty of that World Cup though: after Colombia’s first game, a loss against Romania, brother of defender Chonta Herrera  was killed “in a suspicious car accident.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.