AFCON 2022 Yobo: Eagles Need Just Four Points against Sierra Leone to Qualify


Former Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Yobo has said that Nigeria only need to beat Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Benin City on Friday and get a draw away four days later in Freetown to qualify for the 2022 AFCON in Cameroon.

Yobo who is now one of Gernot Rohr’s assistants at the senior national team spoke on NFF’s YouTube channel yesterday

The Eagles will host Sierra Leone, in the first of two legs, of the qualifiers in Benin City on Friday.

Super Eagles lead Group L on six points after two games while Sierra Leone are bottom with just one point from a possible six.

Yobo who captained Nigeria to win the 2013 AFCON in South Africa, believes that winning the first-leg in Benin is more important than the reverse fixture in Freetown.

“These are big games. There’s a difference between friendly matches just like the ones we played, (against Algeria and Tunisia) grade A friendlies, very tough. It was experimental where we gave younger players the opportunity to show themselves. But this is a qualifying match where if we do well in both games we will almost qualify for the AFCON.

“We expect big performance and very good results. If we have to do the math I think four points will get us through. But when you play at home, it’s crucial, it is so important to play very well and to take the three points.

“Away from home we know is always difficult especially Sierra Leone. If I can remember the last time we were away to Sierra Leone was 2008 and it was very difficult and I scored the only goal. So, it’s a difficult place to go to but football has also changed so the first game is what is important.

“I try not to bother much about the second game. All we have at this moment is the first game so we need to play very well and our performance will get us the three points.”

On his decision to go into coaching, Yobo said he always knew he would become one after his playing career.

“When you go through a successful career you learn a lot during that period. The biggest experience I had is when you get older from 27, 28 to 30 years that’s when you start realising that you are not just a player, you are now part of the leadership. As much as I was a player on the pitch I was also involve in things that were off the pitch as well.

“At a point I know coaching was going to come, it was like a natural transition for me and my kind of person as well.

“When I finished my career I had coaching, I had pundit and other things I wanted to do in sport but I started being a pundit. While being a pundit, the urge, the hunger to being a coach started coming back again. When I retired, I thought about coaching and I lost two coaches that were so important to the nation and to myself in particular, that’s late Stephen Keshi and Shuaibu Amodu,’ recalled Yobo with fond memories of both coaches