Governors, football legends and Nollywood stars gathered at the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, to honour former Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Phillip Yobo as he brought his footballing career to an eventful end in what was a memorable testimonial match.
Gracing the match were
- Barr. Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor
- Dr Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman, Capital Oil and Gas Plc and President, FC Ifeanyi Uba
- AY, Comedian
- Nwankwo Kanu, Ex-Super Eagles Captain
- Jay Jay Okocha, Ex-Super Eagles Captain
- David Moyes, Former Manchester United Manager
- Osita Iheme [Paw Paw], Nollywood Actor
- Sulley Muntari, Ghanian International
- Samuel Eto’o, Former Camerounian International
- Stephen Appiah, Former Ghanaian International
- Ahmed Musa, Dynama KyivMidfielder
- Efe Ambrose, Celtic FC Defender
- Vincent Enyeama, Ex Super Eagles Captain
- Ike Shorunmu, Former Super Eagles Goal Keeper and Coach
- Augustine Eguavoen, Former Super Eagles Coach
- Joel Obi, Westham United Defender
- Amodu Shu’aibu, Former Super Eagles Chief Coach
- Humblesmith, Harrysong and Duncan Mighty, Musicians
- Mutiu Adepoju, Ex Super Eagles
- Ben Iroha
- Lomana Lualua
- Laryea Kingston
REMARKABLE ABSENTEES: MIKEL AND JOHN TERRY
Remarkably absent were Chelsea captain, John Terry and John Mikel Obi. The Chelsea stars were earlier confirmed to participate in the game. But that was not to be as fans left the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium unhappy due to the dou’s absence. Mikel had been excused by the Nigeria Football Federation from the international friendly matches against Mali and Luxembourg in order to participate in the game. John Terry, due to his non-involvement in England’s squad for Uefa Euro 2016 next month, was expected to grace the event, organisers having confirmed his participation few days to the game.
Few hours to kick-off, news filtered around that the duo were in town and on team list for the game. They were named among the substitutes. However, they were absent and no reason has yet been given for their absence.
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I HAVE NO REGRETS – JOSEPH YOBO
Fielding questions from the media, the former Everton star expressed his delight with the success of the event claiming injuries hindered him from making a curtain call last year.
“It feels great. It is a big blessing to be in this position and I’m thankful to God. It is very emotional but I’m very happy. My family are here to see me one more time and that makes me feel good.
Injury had denied me from announcing my final retirement and this is the first time that I’m returning to the play after a year. I’m grateful to David Moyes, Samuel Eto’o and everyone that came to support – they made my day.”
As to whether he had any regrets in his footballing career, he declared that he was ‘satisfied’:
“I’m very satisfied with my career. It takes only the grace of God to achieve what Joseph Yobo has done; three Africa Nations Cup and three World Cup appearances says it all. I don’t know how I made 101 caps for Nigeria, I’m thankful to God.”
The match was hosted as part of Governor Wike’s one-year in office. It was played at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
Former Manchester United Manager, David Moyes, Emmanuel Emenike, Dani Shittu and Club Proprietor, Ifeanyi Ubah were also on ground to celebrate Joseph Yobo during the testimonial match hosted by the Rivers State Government. Nollywood Star, Osita Iheme (Paw Paw) and Ace Comedian, AY added spice to the match. Music stars like Humblesmith, Harrysong and Port Harcourt home-boy, Duncan Mighty entertained the crowd.
Before the commencement of the fun-filled match Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had a one-on-one encounter with Former Super Eagles Captain, Vincent Enyeama. After taking the kick-off in the match between Team Nigeria and Friends of Yobo, the governor stepped forward for a penalty kick. Though he did not score, Governor Wike struck the woodwork to the admiration of fans.
Sulley Muntari scored for the Team World side who lost 5 – 4 to Team Nigeria. Former Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike scored a hat-trick for Team Nigeria, hitting the net in the 13th, 18th and 28th minutes.
Joel Obi and Yobo scored the team’s other goals in the 15th and 43rd minutes.
Former Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o scored in the 16th and 23rd minutes for the Team World side.
Nollywood actor Osita Iheme, alias Paw-Paw, scored the fourth goal for Team World in the 54th minute.
JOSEPH YOBO’S CAREER
He was born 6th September, 1980 in Kono, in the Khana area of Rivers State.
He made his senior international debut against Zambia in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 24 March 2001.
He scored seven goals for the Super Eagles.
He won one league title, with Fernabahce in 2011.
He won the African Cup of Nations in 2013.
He played 101 matches for the Super Eagles before announcing his retirement in June 2014. He holds the record for the most appearances.
He played in three world cups and six Nations Cup.
He set up the Joseph Yobo Charity Foundation in 2007, to help under-privileged children in Nigeria. He has handed multiple scholarship awards.
He scored an own goal on his centenary match against France in the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup. He announced his retirement afterwards:
“This is it. I can look back on my career with great pride. I wanted to leave on a high for my country. Defeat by France was not the right way to go but I’m happy with all I’ve done for the national team. It’s time to give a chance to other people to come through.”
He runs football camps in Lagos.
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CLUBS PLAYED FOR:
1997-2001: Standard Liege (46 Apps)
2001-2003: Marseille (23 Apps)
2002-2012: Everton (210 Apps)
2010-2014: Fernabahce (91 Apps)
2014: Norwich City (8 Apps)