Yobo still searching for first Afcon triumph
02 February 2013 | Sapa
This year's tournament is Yobo's sixth continental showpiece -- his first as captain -- but the former Marseille and Everton defender has never lifted the trophy, finishing in third place overall on four occasions.
"This is my sixth Africa Cup of Nations. It's tough, I don't believe that we haven't been able to win," the 32-year-old said ahead of Sunday's knockout clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, near Rustenburg.
"I've played with teams in the past that have been very strong but we never went to the finals, now we are here to win.
"We are in the quarter-finals and we have great players. Personally, I am here to win the cup, I want to win it because it is my sixth participation.
The veteran, with over 90 caps for his country, was Nigeria's most capped player of all time, coupled with 10 years' experience in the English Premier League with Liverpool-based outfit Everton, who he joined in 2002 and represented more than 250 times.
Yobo said he was looking forward to the challenge of once again taking on Ivory Coast, who have beaten Nigeria in the teams' previous two Afcon meetings (2006 and 2008).
"If you put the squad that they have on paper, you can naturally say that we are the underdogs," Yobo said.
"But football is very different. They [Ivory Coast] lost at the last tournament in the final [against Zambia] and they were favourites there as well.
The talisman added that he would be looking to give the younger players in the Super Eagles' ranks some advice before heading into the crucial second round encounter.
"It's a big occasion. When I was their age, I looked forward to this kind of opportunity because this is where I'm going to make my name," he said.
"A tournament like this is where I thought people were going to recognise me, so that's what I'm going to tell them.
"I'm going to motivate them and make sure that everyone steps up to the occasion because it's not a day where you can afford to be switched off, you have to be present."
Yobo was named in Nigeria's starting lineup for their opening group C clash against Burkina Faso, before missing out on the second game in the group against Zambia, and was brought on by coach Stephen Keshi for the last seven minutes of their final group game against Ethiopia, but looks set to start against the Elephants on Sunday.
Yobo believed his players would have to be on top form when they meet the Ivorians, insisting that composure in front of goal and clinical finishing would allow the Nigerians to be thrust into the spotlight for upsetting the highly favoured Ivory Coast.
"This is their [younger players] chance to show what they can do. If you're playing against the big players, there are two choices.
"Do you want to prove that you've earned your place, do you want to move from where you are to a bigger club, show the world what type of a player your are? Or do you get scared?," he said.
"There are two options, you have to pick one. Face the occasion and become a better player from there, or if you get scared, you are going to ruin your career."
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