The Nigerian football great is refusing to question the desire and attitude of his players following a stuttering performance against the Squirrels
Nigeria assistant coach Joseph Yobo disagrees with claims the Super Eagles were relaxed during Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualification game against Benin Republic.
The three-time African kings sailed to Porto-Novo with the ambition of earning a win or a draw to qualify for the biennial football showpiece. Nevertheless, Lesotho’s 0-0 draw with Sierra Leone earned Gernot Rohr’s men an early ticket.
As expected, that changed the complexion of the game at the Stade Charles de Gaulle against Michel Dussuyer’s men.
Even with Nigeria’s 1-0 win thanks to Paul Onuachu’s last-gasp header, fans voiced their displeasure with the showing of Rohr’s team, but the legendary defender feels the result is all that matters.
“Football is not easy. They [Benin] haven’t lost at their home ground since 2013 and that says it all. During my era, and that before me, it has never been easy going away from home,” Yobo told Goal.
“That being said, we won 1-0 and the players fought hard for it. The goal came in the last minute but most importantly, we did not also concede. So, these are things to take into consideration.
“I will not follow the fans. They are always demanding and wanting us to score more but we had a good game management plan and that worked in our favour. So, I’m happy we got all three points.”
When asked if the fringe Super Eagles would be given the chance to prove their worth against the Southern African team, the former Olympic Marseille and Everton tactfully navigates the question.
“You never know what is going to happen. I think the head coach and his coaching staff will have to sit and talk about what is going to happen,” he continued.
“That being said, we will take things as they come, monitor the players and we will see what happens before making a decision.”
The 40-year-old is also buzzing over the prospect of seeing the country’s senior national team return to Lagos – which he tags as the ‘hub of Nigerian football’.
“It is good to be back home. Lagos for me is the hub of Nigerian football. I know what it feels like [playing in Lagos],” he added.
“The fans are always demanding – wanting us to do well. So, it’s great excitement for the players.
“I’m happy that after 20 years, competitive football is back to Lagos and I must thank the governor of Lagos for making that possible. I am looking forward to the game.”