Yobo: Group Stage Hurdle Toughened Us for the Task Ahead

Joseph Yobo hopes the spell of positive outcomes continues in favour of the Nigeria national team, who he says are fired up to face the best in the knockout stage of the World Cup.

The Super Eagles are rated far outsiders to pip France to the quarter-finals of the tournament, as both nations prepare for a crucial last-16 battle on Monday, but skipper Yobo insists his side are ready to scale the most difficult hurdle on their part to glory.

Two encouraging results against Bosnia-Hercegovina and Argentina has returned “confidence” back in coach Stephen Keshi’s squad who were hidden in the disappointment of an uninspiring draw against Iran after their first match in Brazil, but it can always get better for the side that fought back from drawing their first two matches to clinching a third Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) title in South Africa last year.

Joseph Yobo Answers the Media During a Press Briefing.
Joseph Yobo Answers the Media During a Press Briefing.

“I’ve played in this side for many years, so I’ve been able to see it evolve,” Yobo told Fifa.com.

“We won the Africa Cup of Nations, booked our place in the World Cup without any trouble and now we’ve qualified for the second round. It’s not often that I’ve experienced so many pieces of good news in a row.

“That shows you we’re improving. This team is young, but it’s growing fast and learning quickly. We’re taking confidence from our campaign so that it can help us in our next match.”

Having featured in two World Cup campaigns prior to Brazil, Yobo, 33, is an undisputed leader on and off the pitch and will crown his commitment to the West African nation with a 100 international cap against France, if selected.

Those experience have defied even the most terrific skills of many attackers in the past and is still raring to go. ‘Les Bleus’ are sure to provide another probing examination, particularly with Karim Benzema in a form of his life but such threat does not faze the Fenerbahce defender again.

“We’ve just played against the best forward in the world, so we’re ready to measure ourselves against anybody,” said Yobo, before adding with a grin: “I don’t see what we should be afraid of. I believe in this team, and I think we can do it.”

“If we don’t win the next game, there won’t be a 102nd cap and so on. But what if I can make it to 104 in Brazil?”


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