Former Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo believes Kenneth Omeruo has the experience and quality to lead the country to glory at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Omeruo was a member of the winning team Yobo led to win the 2013 Afcon in South Africa after defeating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final.
He has been a regular fixture in Gernot Rohr’s team in Egypt 2019, missing just one game so far – their last group outing Madagascar which ended 2-0.
Aside from his fine defensive displays, Omeruo has also contributed to team’s attack, scoring the only goal in Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Guinea in their second Group B match.
Ahead of Sunday’s semi-final clash against Algeria in Cairo, Yobo assessed the present defensive set-up in the national team and applauded the competition between William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Omeruo for playing time.
“Omeruo forced his way into the team with his performance at Leganes last season. Looking at the league performance, he is the outstanding player in the defence,” Yobo told Goal , courtesy of SuperSport .
“It’s refreshing to see Omeruo use his experience in the team because he has been in the national team for a while now so he has put in some very good performances.
“Ekong scored the winner in the last game just like Omeruo did against Guinea. In football, you don’t expect players to perform at their maximum best in every game, it can’t happen. That’s why you see people come in and out of the game.
“The only consistent performer that has been there when you look at the three defenders is Omeruo, he was rested against Madagascar. Ekong and Balogun have been in out so it’s also a healthy competition that is needed. Anyone that’s called upon can always perform.
“It was sad and very unlucky for Balogun when he came one, the error [against Madagascar] happened. Take nothing away from him, he is a top player but these things happen in football.
“It is good to see three of them are competing but before the tournament ends who knows, you might see them playing together at the back. They are all good players.
“Omeruo very good player and he’s beginning to show that in the national team. He’s been outstanding. Omeruo’s performance for Leganes last season was exceptional, you have to give it to him.”
Omeruo played in all of Nigeria’s matches at 2013 Afcon and Yobo believes he could be crucial to the Super Eagles’ charge for a fourth continental title.
“He is not new in the national team so I expect him to be a dominant force in the national team because I trained with him and I saw it that he’s got a lot of qualities,” he added.
“Sometimes, it depends on the coach but I see him as a top player and he’s started showing it to Nigerians and I’m happy with his performance.
“I hope he will lead Nigeria to glory because he’s got everything, I think it’s a healthy competition with Ekong and Balogun. So far, he’s doing excellently well for Nigeria and I see big things for him in the future.”