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Football | Super Eagles

Joseph Yobo ©Backpagepix

Yobo needs trophy to match record caps



Ethiopia and Nigeria teams both trained at the Royal Baofeken Stadium an hour apart in readiness for tomorrow's make or break tie for the Nigerians. At the Press Conferences earlier in the day, both sets of managers reasserted in the importance of the match.

For the Ethiopian coach, he sees this tournament as progress for this generation of players who have not been to any major tournament since 1982. "Scoring a goal like we did against the defending champions in the first match was progress; getting a point was also along the progressive line".

The Nigerian press conference got heated up when a Nigerian journalists questioned skipper Yobo's fitness to which the Fenerbahce defender asked the journalist to go and check his records. "I have been fit, I was fit for this tournament, I just had a minor strain that stopped me from playing the last match. I have been a regular in Europe for my club in Europe and in the Nigerian qualifiers so I really don't have much or anything to defend."

What is far more important to the Nigerian skipper is a burning desire to make all his caps for the National team count with the winning of a tournament. "I have played nearly 90 or 89 matches for Nigeria or whatever number but it will be sad if I retire without winning a tournament". The skipper would love to be spoken in the same breathe as the 94 side "I grew up watching Rashidi Yekini and so desired to have met him before his death but I could not, however, it will be fantastic if we could win this tournament then we have a chance of being spoken in the same breathe as the team that had Yekini".

Much later in the evening the team arrived for training with all the players present and involved. Second choice keeper Austin Ejide in trying to compare the pitch here and that at Mbombela "if we can find another word apart from "better" then we would be able to describe the difference between these two grounds". Team mates Reuben and Brown Ideye echoed the same sentiments.

Nigeria need to win this match to progress. An Ethiopia win followed by a Burkina Faso win in the other game will see the unlikely scenario of Ethiopia going through. Stranger things have happened in football.

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