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Scoring Goals, Not Super Eagles' Problem – Joseph Yobo

Former Super Eagles’ Captain, Joseph Yobo says Nigerians should encourage the national team as they prepare for AFCON 2019

Joseph Yobo was the captain of the Nigerian national team until his international football retirement in June 2014
Joseph Yobo was the captain of the Nigerian national team until his international football retirement in June 2014 / Photo credit: premiumtimesng.com

Joseph Yobo has advised Super Eagles players to consolidate on what they have achieved so far as they prepare for the 2019 African cup of Nations. Excerpts…

Which one do you cherish most; World Cup participation or lifting the AFCON in 2013?

All of them are always important because as football player, when you look at your career and you failed to play at the World Cup, then you are not complete. There are so many players that didn’t play at the World Cup, they are regretting today.

The World Cup is the pinnacle of football and AFCON for Africans is very special. For me, lifting it was very special because it was my sixth participation at the AFCON. Lifting it tops it for me because I did everything and God picked that time for me to win and lift it as the captain. It was a very special moment for me. However playing at the world cup was something very unique and special for me also; it is always special to participate in both.

What are your expectations from the Super Eagles during the AFCON?

Looking at the quality of players paraded by the Super Eagles, scoring goals is not the problem. They have what it takes to score goals. This team looks like they can score goals; they are compact and play for each other, and we have a lot of big players that can rise to the occasion.

I think the Super Eagles are doing very well and we need to encourage them. It doesn’t matter the performance, the most important thing is for the performance to give you result and importantly to perform well at the African Cup of Nations, because since after 2013 we have not been able to qualify and it will be good to see Nigeria at the next AFCON.

Football is the ultimate. Apart from God, my family, football comes next because it made me what I am today. I am working hard and trying to give back to the society that made me and also those people looking up to me to get to where I didn’t get to and also give them the opportunity that I didn’t have. I want to create that platform.

What are doing at the moment after your retirement?

I am trying to consolidate on what I do personally on my business. I am looking at sports as a whole. I already have the Joseph Yobo Academy that is coming up as well. It is always special looking at people in sports coming together to develop the game.

There are some other things I am doing too that are very privy to me but sports is always going to be part of me. However, the level I have reached in football has opened me up to a lot more of sports, more than just football.

When you get to the level of a captain of your country many people look up to you and not just the footballers. Football is the ultimate. Apart from God, my family, football comes next because it made me what I am today.

I am working hard and trying to give back to the society that made me and also those people looking up to me to get to where I didn’t get to and also give them the opportunity that I didn’t have. I want to create that platform.

If you look at my career; playing at six AFCON, playing at the World Cup, over 100 games for the national team, that’s a lot of experience to just throw away. It was an opportunity for me to pass it down to the people, but it wasn’t meant to be. That’s why I am looking at another angle of also imparting on the younger ones from the grassroots to try and encourage them as well.

There was a big story that you were to play for Kano Pillars as an ambassador of the League Management Company, what really happened?

It wasn’t about me playing for a particular team, it was for me to promote the NPFL, to support the way other people did when they are about retiring. It was like giving back to the league and not to play for Kano Pillars or any other team.

If it was to play for a particular team, I would have gone back to my state. It was like reaching out to every team and they can get benefit from my experience. If you look at my career; playing at six AFCON, playing at the World Cup, over 100 games for the national team, that’s a lot of experience to just throw away.

It was an opportunity for me to pass it down to the people, but it wasn’t meant to be. That’s why I am looking at another angle of also imparting on the younger ones from the grassroots to try and encourage them as well.

People see English Premier League as one of the best in the world. You played for Everton for nine years; do you see the league as a model to other leagues especially the NPFL?

EPL is a very special league; with the fans base and the branding. Even coming back home to Nigeria you see how people follow the EPL. It must be a model because that’s where every kid, everyone want to play their football.

You see everyone talking about the league, but there are other leagues as well and I think this is also motivating the younger players to also want to be like the stars because they can actually watch them on the television. During my era, you could hardly watch football on the television.

If you see the kids now, they know all the world stars before even becoming a footballer which makes the passion to increase for them. Whatever you see as a child growing up, you get attracted to it. That they can watch EPL every weekend, they keep on getting attracted to it.

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Joel Kachi Benson is founder and Creative Director of JB Multimedia Studios / Photo credit: Joel Benson

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