Nigerian football star Joseph Yobo is known throughout the football world in Africa and Europe, where he has been playing professionally since 1998. Yobo served as the captain of the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles, until June 2014, when he retired from international football. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the superstar center-back.
He is from the same tribe as the late environmental activist, Ken Saro Wiwa
Yobo was born in Kono, Khana, a part of the Ogoni Kingdom in Nigeria. He belongs to the same tribe as Ken Saro Wiwa – a well-known environmental activist who worked to bring awareness about the environmental degradation of the land and waters of Ogoniland. The area where the two men grew up lacks basic amenities such as running water, electricity, or sufficient resources in schools.
Yobo played every minute of every game of the 2006-2007 season while at Everton
After making the move permanently to Everton in 2003, Yobo quickly became one of the most consistent players on the squad. He was one of only seven players in the league to play every minute of every game in the 2006-2007 season, along with teammate Joleon Lescott. Yobo became the record appearance holder for an overseas player at Everton in April 2007, having played with the team since 2002, and held this until early 2012.
He and wife Adaeze Igwe married after knowing each other 3 months
Yobo’s wife, Adaeze Igwe, is a former winner of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant. They met and married just three months later in a midnight ceremony in Jos. Yobo and Igwe have a son, Joey Yobo. Igwe is the stepdaughter of former football player, John Fashanu.
Yobo’s younger brother, Norum Yobo, was kidnapped in July 2008 and held for ransom
In July 2008, Norum Yobo was kidnapped in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria and held for ransom for 12 days, before eventually being released on July 17. He was taken at gunpoint along with three other men on July 5, 2008, while making his way home from a nightclub.
Yobo came back to play for the Nigerian side in 2014 following an injury that kept him out of the game for 5 months
While playing for the Turkish club, Fenerbahce S.K., Yobo sat out for nearly five months with a knee injury. He was loaned to Norwich City in 2014, where he began playing again shortly before the World Cup, but many had doubts about his fitness and abilities after being out for so long. In response to his detractors, who thought that he shouldn’t be included on the Nigerian roster, Yobo said, “I don’t owe anybody anything. I’ve only said one thing and that is that I thank my bosses for believing in me, for believing that I can still do this and this is very important for me…This is football. I’m still hungry; I still enjoy what I do, especially for my family because I do most things for them. My son is coming up now; he needs to see me play.”
He is the record appearance holder for the Super Eagles
Yobo has been capped 101 times for the Nigerian national team, representing his country at three FIFA World Cup (2002, 2010, and 2014) and six Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2002 to 2012). He assumed the captaincy of the team after the 2010 FIFA World Cup following the international retirement of Nwankwo Kanu.
Yobo announced his international retirement following Nigeria’s loss to France in the round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
After losing to France 2-0 in the quarter finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a game which saw Nigeria’s exit and an own goal by Yobo, the team captain announced his international retirement following his 100th appearance. In an interview with BBC Sport, Yobo said, “This is it. I can look back on my career with great pride. I wanted to leave on a high note for my country. Defeat by France was not the right way to go but I’m happy with all I’ve done for the national team. It’s time to give a chance to other people to come through. Our football has a bright future and I am confident this team can achieve success sooner rather than later.”
He has an estimated net worth of over 8 billion naira ($48 million-plus USD)
Pulling in more than 400 million naira ($2.4 million) per year plus endorsements during his time at Everton, Yobo accumulated a fairly impressive net worth over the course of his career. He has an estimated 8 million naira in assets and cash, which include a mansion in Victoria Garden City, Lagos; another in Abuja; a duplex in London; and sizable stakes in top oil companies and banks.
Yobo was accused of trashing a penthouse flat in Liverpool in March 2014
Ray Smith, the landlord who rented a Liverpool flat to Yobo, claims the flat was trashed with burn marks everywhere, the kitchen and bathroom were covered in filth, and there were holes in the walls. The landlord took photos to the newspaper showing the state of the apartment. Yobo denied the reports, claiming his brother Gideon was staying at the apartment. Yobo agreed to pay for anything that was damaged.
He set up the Joseph Yobo Charity Foundation in 2007 to help underprivileged children in Nigeria
The Joseph Yobo Charity Foundation hands out scholarships to Nigerian children, ranging from primary schools to the university level, to help promote education and make schooling a possibility for those who wouldn’t be able to otherwise afford it. “What I am doing with this foundation is to help people in a similar situation achieve their full potential in whatever they do, and I am proud to be able to help.” Yobo also started a football academy in the Ogoni region of Nigeria, and runs frequent football camps in the country’s capital, Lagos.
Sources: FIFA.com, Nairaland.com, DailyMail.co.uk, KickOff.com, News.BBC.co.uk, VanguardNGR.com, AllNigeriaSoccer.com, Liverpool ECHO, TheNet.ng