Now playing in his sixth Africa Cup of Nations and having starred in 91 games for Nigeria — the record appearance by a Nigerian player — Super Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo, looks ahead to the future, saying he has only two years to spend in the national team.
The Rivers-born defender has seen it all in the Eagles- injuries, criticisms, praises and rebuke- since making his debut in 2001 and moving on to become Nigeria’s most capped footballer ever.
“This is my sixth Nations Cup appearance and it’s a great achievement. I did not know that I would get this far in my career. I have had bad injuries and I thank God that I am out of it now,” the 32-year-old said.
“I feel like a 22-year-old player. If I stay out of injury in the next two years, I may still come to one more Nations Cup. But I am in South Africa for this competition so I have to concentrate on that for now.
“But I still have the the 2014 World Cup qualifiers to play and the World Cup is still there for me as well, so there are chances for me to add to my caps for Nigeria,” he states.
In all his years in the team, Yobo has not lifted a major trophy; a regret he says has become a burden to him.
“It’s disappointing that I have not won something yet but if I win something soon, I may take a look at it and make a decision.”
There are other personal regrets the Fenerbahce centre-back harbours aside not winning trophies with the Eagles.
“I have never had the time to stay with my family in 11 years. I miss the union and I long for it soon after all the period I have spent in football. I am a human being and I deserve to have them around me now. If I make it to the next World Cup, I may call it quits,” he added.
“It’s an enormous load being the captain of a team like the Super Eagles because Nigerians are always demanding. They expect a lot from us and as the leader, you must always live up to the responsibility. If you want to be a leader, criticisms should not bother you but strengthen you,” he said.
He has not experienced the feeling of being an African champion before but he surely knows how it feels for champions to be ousted early from a competition.