Joseph Yobo has warned that the Super Eagles will have to play as a team in order to get a result against Lionel Messi and his Argentina team.
Nigeria open their campaign on June 12 against Argentina and Yobo is wary of the devastating effect the current FIFA World Player of the Year has had all season.
“Messi is unbelievable and just seems to get better and better,” Yobo stated. “Every time he’s on the ball you know something is going to happen. He deserves to be the world’s best.
“Its going to be very, very difficult, I think we have to do things as a team rather than as individuals. The way he plays he finds his freedom on the pitch which makes him exceptional but if we defend as a team and keep our position and keep our concentration for 90 minutes, hopefully we can do it.”
The Everton defender has been involved in the Nigeria international set up since for a decade, and says the pressure is something his Premier League colleagues do not understand.
“They don’t understand what we go through in Nigeria – you have an ultimatum of what is expected. For the last African Nations Cup they said if we don’t get to the final or semi-final then we are no good.
“There is always expectation because of what players in the past have done and we just have to try to better that or match it and it is very, very difficult. It’s not every player that can stand up to that.
“Playing for Nigeria, a nation of over 150 million, football is like a culture so when you do well you’re a big hero but when you don’t do well it’s like you don’t want to go back home. We’ve just got to throw in everything we have got to make sure we make Nigeria proud, and not just Nigeria, Africa as a whole.”
Not too many are giving the six African representatives a chance to win the World Cup, with Yobo’s teammate Steven Pienaar saying an African country will not win the World Cup, but the big Nigerian insists that it is a unique opportunity for Africa to rule the world.
“The World Cup is coming to Africa and it is very special. In South Africa we have loads of Nigerians staying there – it’s like our second home.
“It’s very special in Africa because it is bringing out Africa as a continent – especially South Africa the host country – and we’re playing close to home and are very excited about that.
“Its a great opportunity and we want to make sure this time – we don’t know when an African country is next going to be host — we prove a point and we show how good African teams are, especially Nigeria.
“Now we are playing close to our fans, close to our home and family and everyone is looking forward to it. There is great expectation and we believe this is the right time if we want to show this area can do something.”
“We want to make sure this time we show how good African teams are – especially Nigeria.”
Yobo is already in Abuja ahead of a Send Forth Dinner with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s captain Nwankwo Kanu has assured Nigerians that the Eagles will not go into the World Cup, especially the opening group match against Argentina to pick balls, but to play all the way to an appreciable level Africa would be proud of.
Speaking in interview programme, Extra time, the Eagles’skipper said, “We only have to have the belief and be positive. We don’t go down to anybody because we have to show the world we’re good especially on a big stage like the World Cup.
“In Nigeria, we can die because of football. Four years ago, we did not make it to the World Cup, but luckily we will be in South Africa.
“This is a big opportunity for an African team especially as the tournament is being played in Africa. It is a chance for an African team to make a big impact – either to win the World Cup or at least get to the Final.”
The Portsmouth forward said that the Eagles want to come out with something everybody could be proud of.
The Nigeria Football Association has already given new coach, Lars Lagerback, a semi-final target but Kanu who is in the twilight of his career said the Eagles can play all the way and win the tournament.
“Nigeria will be one of the strongest African teams at the World Cup. On a good day, we can beat any team, be it Brazil or Argentina.
“There will be surprises at this World Cup and it won’t be advisable for anybody to underrate any team,” said Kanu.
“Argentina are a big football country, but all the same, we won’t go into this match just to go and pick balls. It will be an interesting game and the result of this game could determine this group.
“It’s important to win our first game and from there, we can move forward.”
Nigeria will move into camp in England on Friday after a Presidential reception in Abuja on Thursday.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
- Politics4 days ago
2023: PDP Flexes Muscle Over C’ River
- Niger Delta4 days ago
Ayade Is Regretting Joining APC – Secondus
- Politics4 days ago
Govs To Hold Virtual Meeting On Judicial, Legislative Autonomy
- Politics4 days ago
Afenifere, Ohanaeze, S’ South Harp On New Constitution
- Entertainment2 days ago
Alibaba, Banky W, Others Attend Wizkid’s Debut Album’s 10th Anniversary
- Business4 days ago
Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA
- Niger Delta4 days ago
Diri Gives Operational Vehicles To Security Agencies
- Business4 days ago
Air Passengers Protest Seizure Of Vehicles, Extortion At PH Airport