By JOE APU
Against the back drop of Super Eagles’ Coach, Stephen Keshi’s declaration that his captain, Joseph Yobo, should continue to lead the team, former junior international, Kingsley Onye, has called on the Rivers State-born player to call it quit on his international career now that the ovation is loudest. While hailing the Turkey-based defender for winning the Nations Cup for Nigeria for the third time in Nigeria’s history, he says that this is the time for Yobo to quit especially given all the accolades that he is receiving at the moment.
He should not be fooled into carrying on when there are so many young players who have stepped up to do a better job in his position. The former Rangers of Enugu and Leventis United football clubs, while speaking from his base in London on the Super Eagles’ victory said that he would advise the Fenerbahce of Turkey star to follow the foot steps of his coach, Stephen Keshi, who after the Nations Cup and World Cup in 1994 retired from international football. “Yobo has 96 caps, making him the most capped Nigerian player ever.
He has done very well as captain of the Super Eagles and has crowned his efforts with the Nations Cup trophy in South Africa to the delight of many Nigerians. However, this is the time for Yobo to retire from the national team. He should look at players such as Austin Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu who took the honourable way out of the national team. He should not make the mistake that Chukwu made in 1982 when he was lured out of retirement after winning the 1980 Nations Cup.”
Onye, popularly known by his friends and admirers as Mature said that from what he saw of the Super Eagles’ captain, he was no longer convinced that he could risk being in the thick of action for the Nigerian national team. “Yobo, I must say here has paid his dues for the national teams and he has led the Super Eagles well. This is the time for him to call it quit on his international career.
Yes, it could be tempting for him to want to continue, but he should also take a look at how many minutes he played during the Nations Cup and take a decision. I won’t like to see him disgraced and sentiments don’t play football anymore.” On Coach Stephen Keshi, Onye said that he was also full of praises for him because he dared where other coaches failed to walk by picking six home-based players in the 23-man squad. “Keshi did well with his choice of players even though not many gave him a chance to win.
I salute his courage for taking the bull by the horns and his winning the Nations Cup is a big boost to indigenous coaches and it shows that we can do the job better. Our coaches must be given bigger responsibilities because they deserve it and would do a better job than any foreign coach. Our coaches know our players better and understands them too and that puts them in the proper position to know how to use them be it at home or abroad.” He also pointed out that the choice of Daniel Amokachi, Sylvanus Okpala and Ike Shorunmu as assistants to Keshi were decisions in the right direction.
“Look at the list of Keshi’s backroom staff and you’ll say that the team had much experience to tap from. Okpala, for instance, from what I knew of him in my days with Rangers is a workaholic and thinking of the way Amokachi played in the 1994 squad with Ike Shorunmu speaks volumes. Much has gone between these ex-players turned coaches and because they believed in themselves, they did not allow the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, to distract them.
They all deserve praises and all the accolades that have come their way are worthy,” the member of the Moscow ’85 Junior World Cup said.