Joseph Yobo had a glorious football career that spanned almost two decades, playing for teams like Olympique Maseille, Everton, Fenerbahce and others before finally hanging his boots in 2014.
But if Yobo blossomed into one of Africa’s best defenders in Europe, it was at English Premier League side where a sizeable number Nigerians have also to be privileged to play at.
Name them, Daniel Amokachi, Victor Anichebe, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Ademola Lookman and recently, Alex Iwobi have all had the fortune of playing for the club with amazing impact.
Yobo spent 9 years of his adult life at Goodison Park between 2003 and 2012, making a total of 196 appearances and scoring 8 goals.
Today, he has moved to another phase of life as he now acts in the capacity of assistant coach to the Nigeria’s men football team, the Super Eagles. He was appointed by the Nigera Football Federation (NFF) in February 2020.
However, it’s not only Yobo who appears to have caught the bug of coaching. Diligent search has revealed that at least 4 of the Rivers State-born defender’s former colleagues at Everton have today taken on the managers’ garb.
And it will surprise you who these former teammates of Yobo are….
Phil Neville came to Everton in 2005 after having had a fantastic run with Manchester United, winning 6 Premier League titles 1 UEFA Champions League, 3 FA Cups, 3 Community Shields and sundry other domestic and individual titles.
At the time he came to help strengthen the Toffees’ defence, Yobo had already spent 2 years at the club. He would spend a further 8 years at Everton before he retired in 2015 to take up coaching.
He presently acts as head coach of the David Beckham-owned Major League Soccer (MLS) club, Inter Miami. Before then, he had been coach of the England women’s national team.
Not many people know that both Joseph Yobo and Arsenal’s current manager, Mikel Arteta were teammates!
Infact, Arteta, a midfielder who had earlier had stints at Paris St. Germain and Glasgow Rangers had initially come in to Everton on loan from Real Sociedad before he was signed on a permanent deal.
He spent 6 years at the club with Yobo before moving to London to join Arsenal in a deal that will last four years between 2011 and 2016.
He had wasted no time in declaring his next career path as he joined Manchester City to understudy the legendary, Pep Guardiola from whom he prepared for later managerial duties at Arsenal.
He has since won both the FA Cup and Community Shield for the Gunners in his very first season in charge.
Another of Joseph Yobo’s former teammates now a coach is Wayne Rooney. Rooney who later became both England and Manchester United highest goalscorer of all times was briefly Yobo’s teammate when the Nigerian arrived on loan at the club in 2002.
Rooney would later leave for Old Trafford for a then record fee of £30million as an 18-year old and ended up winning 5 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 Europa League, scoring 253 goals in 557 appearances.
He had left United in 2017, rejoined Everton briefly before moving on to MLS side, DC United. He returned to England recently to join Derby County, first as a player before being made the club’s manager on a permanent basis early this year.
Steven Pienaar was the higly rated South African midfielder who had joined Everton from the famous Ajax Amsterdam in 2008.
He and Yobo were also teammates for 3 years before he left to join Tottenham Hotspur in 2012.
He had returned to Spurs briefly to Goodison Park for another 4-year stint before finally deciding to move into coaching.
He is currently assistant coach at Dutch amateur side, SV Robinhood and trainee coach at the Ajax Academy.