WELCOME ON BOARD YOBO

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On the 12th of February this year, former Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Yobo was appointed as the assistant coach of the Super Eagles. He replaced Imama Amapakabo in the team’s technical crew. Yobo, one of the most capped players in the green and white jersey plied his trade in Europe for Everton in England and Fenerbache in Turkey amongst many clubs where he played the round leather game. The 39-year-old represented Nigeria in six Africa Cup of Nations finals – 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013, leading the team to glory in 2013 in South Africa where the Super Eagles under the late Stephen Keshi conquered the continent for the third time.

He joins the long list of former Super Eagles players who later emerged as coaches – Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, the late Stephen Keshi, Augustine Eguavoen, the embattled Samson Siasia and Christian Chukwu.

The Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr kicked against his appointment as he lacks a coaching certificate and formal training as a coach. Another former Super Eagles coach, Chief Segun Onigbinde also kicked against his appointment in an indirect manner when he said that being a successful player doesn’t automatically translate into a great coach.

Many of his former colleagues were also surprised at his appointment. The Chairman of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick defended his appointment citing the example of the current coach of Arsenal, Mikel Arteta who successfully transited from being a player to a coach in the top London club.

All over the globe, we have players like Jurgen Klinsmann of Germany, Zinedine Zidane of France amongst many others who were successful players and coaches. Even the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho were former players who became astounding coaches.

While formal training is good for coaching, it is not absolute that the possession of certificates will make one a great coach. Coaching is more of a talent-based profession and is akin to music, writing and journalism where a certificate may not really be necessary to being a successful practitioner in them.

Yobo, being a successful player and coach having played both at home and abroad has the charisma to lead the eagles to victory and to restore the lost glory of the team. Rohr should stop complicating issues and should be open to work hand-in-hand with him and to ensure that one day he is sufficiently groomed well enough to take over from him.

Tony Ademiluyi, Lagos