President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has given reasons for Joseph Yobo’s appointment as Super Eagles assistant coach.
Mixed reactions have trailed the decision of the NFF to pick Yobo, a former captain of the national team, as Gernot Rohr’s assistant.
But Pinnick, in an exclusive interview with Sunday PUNCH, said Yobo’s appointment was a unanimous decision of the NFF’s Executive Committee.
“The NFF is very excited with his appointment and will take it as a responsibility to ensure that he gets the requisite (coaching) qualifications at the highest level,” Pinnick stated.
“That’s how Stephen Keshi started. Who says Yobo can’t be the next Nigerian to win the the AFCON as player and coach?
“FIFA stipulates that the head coach and first assistant coach must have coaching licences. Yobo is not the first assistant coach.
“The idea is that we want to nurture and condition him to provide leadership and mentorship for the young team, using the Nigerian factor, which Gernot (Right) cannot provide.
“He’s played for some of Europe’s big clubs, won the AFCON and he is one of our most-capped players ever. So, we should back him to succeed.”
Pinnick added that Yobo’s former teammate at Everton, Mikel Arteta, began coaching immediately on retirement in 2016, despite not having the experience, and rose through the ranks to become Arsenal’s manager.
He said, “When Yobo was at Everton, Arteta was on the bench. But he began his coaching career as an assistant at Manchester City when he retired. Today, he is the Arsenal manager and one of the top coaches in England. So, we should learn to support our own.
“Are we going to keep relying on foreigners all the time?”