Former Everton and Manchester United Manager, David Moyes, England captain, Wayne Rooney and Chelsea of England’s former striker, Didier Drogba are among the stars from across the world scheduled to participate in Joseph Yobo’s centenary and testimonial game billed to hold in Port Harcourt on May 27.
Also expected at the game billed for the Adokie Amiesiamaka Stadium, are Liverpool of England defender, Kolo Toure and former Cameroun captain, Samuel Eto, among others.
Speaking during the unveiling of the programme for the testimonial match, Yobo, who captained Nigeria to its third African Nations Cup triumph in 2013, disclosed that many of the stars who played with and against him during his over 15 years sojourn in European football have indicated interest in coming to Nigeria for the game.
“I cannot start mentioning names of the others because we are trying to see how we can accommodate the numerous requests to be part of the programme. But I want to assure you that many known names in European football will be part of the match. We will give you their names as soon as we finalise the list,” he said.
Yobo played for over six years for Everton with Moyes as his manager when Rooney was just cutting his teeth as a player in the Liverpool-based club’s first team.
Yobo revealed that the match, which was early scheduled to hold in Lagos, was moved to Port Harcourt when the foreign players kicked against the artificial turf of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Earlier, chairman of the event, John Masteroudes, a former Nigeria Football Association (NFA) executive committee member, congratulated Yobo for being among the progressive elements in the development of the country’s football.
He said, “it is very difficult for anybody to play up to a 100 matches for the national team and I am happy that Yobo’s contributions to the national team is being appreciated.
“I am very much in my elements because I am in the midst of people whom I have known for over 25 years as a participant in Nigerian football.
“We are here to celebrate Yobo, who has played for the country for over 100 times. He has seen the good and the ugly sides of the game and we appreciate him.”
Among the former Super Eagles’ coaches and players at the event were Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Taribo West, Ifeanyi Udeze, Peter Rufai, Augustine Eguavoen, Christian Chukwu, Amodu Shaibu, Fanny Amun, Henry Nwosu, Victor Ikpeba and Tajudeen Disu.
Meanwhile, Masteroudes has posited that immediate past coach of the Super Eagles, Sunday Oliseh, had to quit his job because of the divisive environment at the national team. He said it was in the best interest of Nigeria that Oliseh vacated his position.
“It is very difficult for anybody to build a strong national team because the coach picks players from different clubs with diverging philosophy. And when our national team is divisive as we witnessed in recent times, it becomes more difficult.
“I am glad that Oliseh decided to leave, not because he is not a good coach, because his presence was very divisive to the team.
“I hope that with Siasia we will have a united team with no more divisions because that is the only way we can think of getting a good team,” he said.