Injury-hit Norwich City loan spell left Joseph Yobo sweating on World Cup bid
07:30 14 June 2014
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Norwich City’s former loanee Joseph Yobo feared his injury-hit Carrow Road spell had wrecked his bid to lead Nigeria at the World Cup in Brazil.
Yobo played no part in the Canaries’ Premier League run-in after being blighted by a calf injury, but the 33-year-old proved his fitness in an end-of-season international friendly against Scotland at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
The Fenerbahce defender made eight appearances for City, which culminated in the 1-0 home league defeat to West Brom in April which signalled the end for former boss Chris Hughton.
Yobo is now in line to become the first Nigerian international to reach 100 caps for his country ahead of Monday’s opening group match against Iran in Curitiba.
“There was a point I doubted myself if I was going to make it here because of injuries. But I’m here now, I’m fit and ready to go,” he said. “This is going to be my third World Cup and I wasn’t fit before this time so I’m just happy now that I’m fit and ready and that gives me great joy.
“My main focus is playing for Nigeria, doing well for Nigeria and if I achieve any landmark, it’s going to be exciting and special as well. Any other thing that comes after playing the World Cup is an addition, is a bonus.”
Yobo along with Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel had to diffuse a potential row over World Cup bonuses that threatened Nigeria’s preparations prior to leave for Brazil.
“I am the captain of the national team and if the players are not happy, then there is no way I can be happy,” he said. “You can’t deprive players from asking for their rights, this is normal. As the captain of this team I’m proud and honoured to represent my country and so are the others.”