Joseph Yobo has urged Nigeria Professional Football League stars invited to Super Eagles to remain ‘patient’ and keep ‘working hard’ in a bid to cement their place in the national team.
Enyimba’s duo of John Noble and Anayo Iwuala plus Abia Warriors’ Adekunle Adeleke were the local-based professionals called up for March’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho by coach Gernot Rohr.
While Anayo made cameo appearances in both games, Noble and Adeleke were unused substitutes as the three-time African kings triumphed over the Squirrels and the Crocodiles to end their Group L qualification campaign unbeaten.
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Accessing the contribution of the trio, the former Everton and Olympique Marseille defender has stated that their time would come.
“They did well during training. It’s not easy when you are called upon to play for the Super Eagles. This is their first time in the senior national team,” Yobo told Goal.
“[Anayo] Iwuala came on [against Benin and Lesotho] and proved himself. These are good signs; they have been doing very well.
“They just have to be patient, keep working hard and keep improving, then their opportunities will come.”
The country’s joint highest capped national team player was also asked if the squad can compete for the ultimate prize in Cameroon, and if his technical crew would be keen on inviting more players for the African football fiesta.
“I think it’s a bit too early [to talk about competing for the title] but we have the base of this squad,” he continued.
“The addition that might come in is if someone is injured or another player is in top form playing for his club, so you never know what may happen.
“It is still about nine months before the tournament – some players might be injured or out of form – it’s still a long time but basically, this moment we do have a strong squad and we keep improving.”
The Afcon draw ceremony will be held in Cairo on June 25.