Joseph Yobo mastered the art of defending while playing for clubs in France, England and Turkey, and his expertise can be a boost to the national team’s defence if well harnessed, according to a former international
One-time Nigeria international defender Sam Sodje has tasked head coach Gernot Rohr to set Yobo the job of building a solid defence for the Super Eagles as the former skipper possesses the know-how to carry out that assignment correctly.
Rohr has had a few problems in the defensive and goalkeeping departments which has hampered the success of his side in recent times.
Nigeria scored three goals and conceded three others in as many matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but the team could not progress beyond the group stages, having claimed just a single victory.
Since the Super Eagles’ exit from the Mundial, the team has played 20 games – not including non-FIFA friendlies and matches involving home-based Eagles – winning 13 of them while shipping 17 goals.
Seven of those goals were conceded in seven games at the 2019 AFCON, with Nigeria failing at the semifinals.
Sodje believes Yobo can make the team’s defence even better when charged to work directly with the likes Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun, Chidozie Awaziem, and William Troost-Ekong among others.
“Yobo is such a great guy with immense experience as a player,” Sodje was quoted by the New Telegraph.
“He understands the national team having played for Nigeria for several years.
“I am sure Rohr will find him extremely useful; the coach should look at Yobo and say ‘go and fix my defence’.
“He was a top-level defender during his time and should know how to work with these young lads.
“I have always said that the Super Eagles’ defence line needs proper coordination; while he keeps his eyes on the broader scope of the job under Rohr, the Manager needs to give Yobo greater responsibilities by handling the backline.”
Former Everton stalwart, Yobo, Nigeria’s most capped player ever, was appointed earlier in the year as assistant coach to Rohr.
But he is yet to take to the training pitch as the coronavirus pandemic halted football activities in many parts of the world.