Ex-Super Eagles forward, Emmanuel Emenike, has described as “disrespectful” the decision of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to fix an international friendly for the national team after they had agreed to honour former skipper, Joseph Yobo, on that day.
Yobo, 36, retired from the game in 2014 after picking up a remarkable century of caps for the Eagles and a centenary testimonial game was being organised in honour of the former Everton man.
Nigeria play Mali in a 2018 FIFA World Cup warm-up game in France on May 27, same day the Yobo centenary game was scheduled for Port Harcourt.
And his former teammate, Emenike, who also quit the team a year after, has called out the Amaju Pinnick-led body for not showing enough “respect” to his former skipper, who had served the country with total dedication.
Emenike, 28, who featured alongside the former Fenerbahçe defender as Nigeria won a third Africa Cup of Nations title in 2013, argues that the NFF “don’t respect our past heroes” despite all they put in for the country.
“If we are still on the same page of rebranding football, we should have the common sense of celebrating our heroes so that the younger ones in the team will live by example,” an angry Emenike told AfricanFootball.
“Yobo deserves the honour and everybody has to turn up to celebrate him, but it’s unfortunate that it’s the NFF who are now looking like the obstacle to this testimonial.”
The West Ham striker queried how possible it is for Eagles players to be engaged in both games simultaneously.
“The Super Eagles players are the ones who want to play the Yobo match, tell me how will that be possible if they are in for another national assignment on that same day?
“We should change our mentality of ‘use and dump’ approach in order to reach greater heights of football in the world.”
“Yobo was one of the best in Africa during his playing days. He’s a known name all over the world and he should be celebrated in a bigger way. The younger ones are watching, let’s change things.
“I understand that the Joseph Yobo match will be played this same day Super Eagles have a match against Mali or whoever, is that the way it’s being done in other countries?
“I think some people are just unserious about our football. This is a top match and Yobo has written a letter to the NFF before now, so why are they playing this international match also?
“We should also understand that we don’t respect our past heroes, we don’t appreciate the past, we only want people to come and die and forget about their life.”
The former Spartak Moscow star who played at the 2014 FIFA World Cup which was Yobo’s last said: “Without apology, I have decided not to say anything against the federation irrespective of their antics, but this is unacceptable. I hate injustice and we should learn to celebrate our past heroes in order to encourage the younger players in the team.
“I think it will be better for them to do something about it and cover their mess because of other foreign players coming for the match.
“Even when I was in the team, I got angry at times when you see the way things were going wrong and you begin to question yourself on a lot of things and this is just one of those things.”
Football greats, Loius Saha, William Gallas, James Beattie, Didier Drogba and Nwankwo Kanu, among others are expected to storm the Garden City for the testimonial game.