By George Aluo
JOSEPH Yobo will on May 27 (interestingly on Children’s Day) be pulled out from international football at the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt during a testimonial game tagged: “The Joseph Yobo Centenary Games.”
The former Eagles captain who is already basking in the euphoria of the big event told Saturday Sunsports early in the week in Lagos that one thing that went for him during his heyday was his level of commitment which he noted made it difficult for all the coaches he played under in the Eagles to put him on the bench.
“As a Super Eagles player, I made sure my legs did all the talking. I can beat my chest to say that I served the country with total commitment. This informs why it was difficult to keep me on the bench. I am happy the time to celebrate my achievements and success story with the team is here. And from the feedback I am getting; I just hope we will be able to manage the avalanche of stars that are coming to Port Harcourt. Over 100 ex-internationals are coming and we can only put just 11 players on the pitch at a time.”
Yobo pointed out that the testimonial game would ordinarily have taken place in Lagos, but for the artificial turf at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, where the super stars would not want to play.
He was quick to add that the event coming up in Port Harcourt makes no difference since both Lagos and Port Harcourt are all in Nigeria.
“The pitch is what knocked out Lagos. All the same, the important thing is that the event is coming up in Nigeria. Both Lagos and Port Harcourt are in Niout Lagos. All the same, geria. Talking about Port Harcourt, that is my home. That is where I started my career and ending it at home is great. It is going to be a full house on that day. My former manager in Everton, David Moyes is coming. I was his first signing and I’m honoured he has agreed to come. Wayne Rooney, Drogba, Eto o, Toure are all coming. In the days ahead, we will be confirming the names. There won’t be any name-dropping. We will be reeling out the names as we confirm. Unfortunately I have lost many contacts after losing my phone, but as I get in contact with my pals, we will be telling the public those who will be in Port Harcourt for the game.”
Yobo was full of praise for his senior colleagues and former coaches for identifying with him ahead of the event, even as he described Pastor Taribo West as one of his mentors.
The roll call of those that were present during a press parley put together by Joseph Yobo Foundation ahead of the games were Shaibu Amodu, Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Taribo West, Austin Eguavoen, Peter Rufai, Ifeanyi Udeze, Christian Chukwu, Victor Ikpeba and Henry Nwosu.
Yobo made his Super Eagles debut against Zambia in a 2002 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on 24 March 2001 in Chingola, Zambia.
He went on to amass 100 international caps, scoring seven goals in a career that spanned 13 years where he featured at three FIFA World Cups and six AFCON tournaments, leading Nigeria to victory in his last outing in South Africa.
At club level, he turned out for Standard Liège, Marseille, Everton, Fenerbahce and Norwich City between 1998 and 2014.