Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has pointed out the need to have players with Joseph Yobo’s leadership qualities and charisma in the senior national football team.
Speaking when a delegation of Joseph Yobo Centenary Committee paid him a visit yesterday in his office in Abuja, Dalung tasked the former Super Eagles captain to use his wealth of experience in the game to groom players who will step into his shoes.
“There is need for us to have people who will succeed us. We have to produce people who will replicate what we did. Your (Yobo) charisma and leadership in the national team was outstanding and you have to think along the line of having a system that produces players who replicate that in the national team. No doubt, the national team will miss you,” noted the minister while recalling the positive role played by Yobo in the senior national team.
Dalung has fond memories of Yobo at Mali 2002.
“I was a member of the Federal Government delegation to the Nations Cup in 2002 in Mali. You were so young then. I appreciate your commitment to the national team. There was this match (against Senegal) that we lost and we would have conceded more goals if not for your doggedness in defence. In fact, at a time you rushed forward to help the attack when the attackers were not biting enough.
“The good thing is that you are being celebrated while you are alive. At least, you will know that all your labour was not n vain for Nigeria,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, Yobo expressed his joy at playing for Nigeria.
“It is now that I look back and ask myself ‘did I do this much?’ After 101 games, three World Cups, six AFCONs, it is now that I feel what a blessed man I am,”, the former Everton defender recalled.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, will score the first goal of the Yobo Testimonial match at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Friday, May 27.
Yobo, in whose honour the game is being played, said instead of the usual ceremonial kick off, there will be a ceremonial penalty, to be taken by the governor against former Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama
“Governor Wike is a man of unique qualities, so it is only right that we give him the distinction of opening this special game in a unique fashion,” the former Nigeria captain announced yesterday.
“Although he is great goalkeeper and a great penalty saver, I don’t think that Enyeama can stop that penalty,” Yobo joked yesterday.
A host of international stars and former Nigeria players will be in Port Harcourt for the match, which follows last weekend’s international golf tournament and Yobo insists it is a credit to the Wike administration that the state is hosting major events without any incidents
“High profile events and people are coming to Rivers State and it is a credit to the governor that all these events are happening in peaceful circumstances.”
The Kick off time for the game is at 4pm with SuperSport promising to televise it on SuperSport 3HD and SuperSport 9.