The Lagos State Government is set to host a befitting testimonial for former Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo where it expects players like Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, and a host of other global names to participate, Goal has learnt.
Though the date has not been announced, the Yobo testimonial will be a celebration of the career of the former defender who was the first to reach a century of caps for the Nigeria senior national team, according to Mr Adeboye Anthony Adeyinka, Senior Special Assistant on Sports to the Lagos State Governor.
After a successful staging of the Lagos Marathon last weekend, the Lagos State Government is starting to look at sports as a veritable way to market the metropolis, and what bigger way than football and Yobo?
“The match will be played in Lagos but it will not be a Lagos thing alone because Yobo played for Nigeria so it will also be a Federation event,” Adeyinka told Goal.
The 35-year-old had a distinguished career which took him to several countries and clubs. He played in Belgium, France, England and Turkey with varying degrees of success.
Yobo led the Super Eagles to victory at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations before calling time on his international career after Nigeria’s second round elimination by France at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“When he was playing in Nigeria, he was a respected person. When he played abroad he was never red-carded in any match. All his coaches will testify to what I have said and they will be invited to the testimonial,” said Adeyinka.
Apart from the high profile Yobo match, Lagos will also return to domestic football relevance when the new Nigeria Professional Football League season starts on February 21 due to the promotion of two clubs into the top flight.
Privately-run MFM FC and Ikorodu United have been given the use of Agege Stadium and Onikan Stadium as home grounds respectively by the government.
Adeyinka believes their promotion is a result of the importance that the government places in football development and a justification of its policy not to get involved in the running of clubs unlike what obtains in many other states.