Joseph-Yobo

WORLD CUP 2018

  • Says Nigeria may be lucky in the fourth time clash with Argentina

Duro Ikhazuagbe

Former Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Yobo, has cautioned the senior national team to beware of Iceland ahead of their World Cup Group D battles in Russia.

The former Everton central defender who was capped 101 times representing the three-time African champions said yesterday in Lagos that instead of Eagles thinking of what to make of Argentina and their talismanic Lionel Messi, Iceland remains the ‘surprise package’ of the group.

“I played against Argentina in three World Cups. Now, Nigeria is meeting them for the fourth time. May be this is the time for Nigeria to record her first victory over the Albeceleste. If we don’t concede an early goal against Argentina, we should be able to get a draw least.

“Croatia, Iceland, anything can happen. Croatia we know but Iceland is the surprise package of Group D,” observed the former Nigerian captain.

Yobo disagreed with Nigerian football fans that are fretting over Super Eagles backline and the goal keeping aspect of the Russia-bound team.

“I disagree with those worrying about Super Eagles defence. What is important is experience. Yes, we may not have experienced senior players in that area but we have talented, fearless young players who can hold their own against any team. I really don’t think the defence is as bad as is being portrayed,” emphasized Yobo who retired from the senior national team after Nigeria’s second round defeat to France at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Speaking from the experience he garnered playing in three World Cups starting from the Korea/Japan 2002, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 for Eagles, Yobo wants Eagles to take every game at a time.

“It should be one game at a time. You don’t go to the World Cup and be dreaming of playing in the final when you are not done with what you have right before you first in the group stage.

“Win your first game first and prepare for the next one without thinking of the third game. It should be one at a time. I don’t think it is good to loose the first game and begin to panic.

“If Super Eagles can win the first game, the confidence and quality will build and Nigerians will see quality in them as the competition progresses.

On calls for the return of former Eagles goalkeeper and Captain Vincent Enyeama to the team, Yobo urged Nigerians to respect Enyeama’s decision to end his national team career.

“I think it is good that we respect Vincent Enyeama’s decision not to continue playing for the national team. His experience is there but if he has decided not to comeback, good to respect his position,” he noted.

Yobo said he was pained by the absence of ailing Carl Ikeme who got knocked off the Nigerian squad to Russia 2018 by Leukemia.

“I really feel bad because of the ailment that has sidelined Carl from going to the World Cup. He really did well in the number of matches he was in charge for Nigeria. He was exceptional.”

He however stressed that Ikeme’s absence has created opportunity for another star to emerge in the senior national team.

“It is another chance, another opportunity for another star to emerge. Don’t forget that was how I got my chance to break into the senior national team,” concludes Yobo.

On the elaborate coverage package planned for Nigerians who will not be in Russia to witness the Mundial live, Yobo hailed pay TV channel, SuperSport for the programme.

“This is wonderful coming from SuperSport for Nigerians who will not be in Russia but now have the opportunity to follow all the actions from the comfort of their homes.

“They have made it affordable for all of us to watch the World Cup. If you cannot be there, get the DSTv and watch live proceedings.”