Yobo replaces Imama as Eagles’ assistant coach

  • It’s breath of fresh air, says Esin     
  • Oboaboana hails appointment


The Nigeria Football Federation on Wednesday announced the appointment of former Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo as an assistant coach in the team.

With Yobo’s appointment, the federation has confirmed the termination of the appointment of  Imama Amapakabo, a development ex-international Etim Esin has hailed.

Imama had been marked out for the sacking after he failed to qualify the national U-23 team for the 2020 Olympics Games and couldn’t secure  the 2020 African Nations Championship with the home-based Eagles.

“I think Yobo’s appointment is a breath of fresh air,” Esin told our correspondent. “You cannot compare Yobo’s football pedigree with that of Imama and I know that the young generation of players will really learn from him.”

Yobo, who played for the Nigeria’s U-20 boys – Flying Eagles – during the FIFA World Youth Championship (now known as FIFA U-20 World Cup) in 1999, won his first cap for the  senior team in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match away to Zambia in Chingola in April 2001, and played in three FIFA World Cup finals in 2002, 2010 and 2014.

The attack –minded defender also played in six Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013, capping it with leading the Super Eagles to their third continental title in South Africa in 2013. He played a total of 100 matches for Nigeria at senior level.

Yobo started his professional football abroad with Olympique Marseille in the French top flight and also featured for Fenerbahce in Turkey and Everton and Norwich City in the English Premier League.

Yobo’s appointment came as a surprise because the former defender has no previous coaching experience but Esin said it was unnecessary.

“What experience are you talking about? here is somebody who has played football at the highest level; he has been to several Nations Cup and World Cup. If you are talking about experience that is why they have not asked him to take over as the head coach, he is starting as an assistant and that is a platform he needs. It is just like when Daniel Amokachi started as assistant to late Stephen Keshi.

“This younger generation of players are going to learn so much from him; they will respect it more than they did for Imama because he was an outfield player who did well,” he sad.

Yobo’s last piece of silverware with Nigeria was at the 2013 AFCON where he led the team to the title in South Africa and a key member of that title-winning side Godfrey Oboabona also hailed his former captain’s appointment.

Oboabona took to Twitter to celebrate Yobo when he wrote on his handle that, “We’re doing it the Chelsea & Arsenal way. Congrats skippo of life. I wish you all the very best. Go and succeed.”

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