Former Super Eagles defender, Joseph Yobo, has disclosed why he is qualified to take the position of Assistant Coach of the Country’s national team, in spite of the criticisms and controversy that trailed his recent appointment as Super Eagle’s Assistant Coach.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had recently announced Joseph Yobo as the Assistant Coach of Super Eagles, taking over from Imama Amapakabo, who was relieved of his duty due to his poor run with the Super Eagles’ B team.
Speaking on Channels TV Sports this Morning, the former Everton defender, said it was time to bring to bear his wealth of experience and knowledge of the game to the service of the nation.
“It was not a lane that I was ready to go into immediately because I don’t think the environment was ready for me. But it was something that was inside me but I never discussed it with anybody. As an ex- player and captain for many years, that was another avenue to give back…So it was almost like a national call to serve again, and I looked at this opportunity and so I said I have to give it a go, to give back to the people, to give my knowledge and my service to the nation”, he disclosed.
Yobo, who began his international career in 1999 with the National Under-20 team, had his first cap for the Super Eagles in 2002 and ended his international career on a high note in 2014, after winning the CAF Nation’s Cup with Nigeria in 2013.
He revealed what prompted him to go into coaching.
“As a defender, it’s like I went through a lot of coaching. Every coach that I played under had something to say about me which really I didn’t see it myself. I was just doing my work and enjoying what I do but they say when you are at the pinnacle of your career people would like to talk to you and say, hey, what are you doing after your career? Are you going into coaching, you have the capacity? I tell you what, during my testimonial, I went to West Ham. Emmanuel Amuneke was playing there; Victor Moses was there so I went to see them. And I met the West Ham coach and he said to me, Joseph Yobo…. People like you that have served for so long… and him knowing me, that I have to be in football, ultimately he even said, with the national team. And I thought about it. Sometimes you have something in you, but you don’t wanna be the front runner especially in this society that we are. It was going to come sooner or later. If you follow me, you will realize that I am an academic. I always wanted to give my knowledge to the younger generation. So when this chance came, I had to grab it with both hands”.
On the criticisms that followed his appointment, Yobo stated that he was used to the terrain and that that had enabled him develop ‘thick skin’.
“I think it comes with pressure but I have been a captain. I understand this because I have entered this as a captain, employers, coaching crew, the fans, officials and the FAs. So, I have been in between everybody and it comes with a whole lot of pressures with criticisms. So it’s nothing new to me. It’s just like Nigerians have high expectations. Let me clarify this, I am just coming in, I am an assistant, I will definitely grow. I am looking forward to the challenge. I have to understudy somebody”.
The former Fenerbeche of Turkey strongman also explained his role in the national team.
“So I am there to support, interface with the players. I know what they go through that they cannot speak about. Because of the relationship I have with people, I can also talk to the federation, just to make things a little easier. Manage the internal crisis and problems because even in families you do have problems, so there are bound to be problems when a group of people comes together. So these are the things I would do”.