Exclusive: 'Miracle' For Yobo
January 27, 2010
Everton defender Joseph Yobo could well play a part in Thursday's 2010 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal against Ghana after he claimed to have fully recovered from a hamstring injury after a flying visit to a miracle church in Nigeria.
MTNFootball.com was tipped off of Yobo's miracle healing by one Emeka Igwe, who said he saw the moment the Super Eagles defender arrived the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ikotun, on the outskirts of Lagos.
Yobo's recently wedded wife is a member of this church of Pastor TB Joshua, who has also claimed to be behind Ghana's historic victory at last year's FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt. Eagles assistant coach, Daniel Amokachi, and Nwankwo Kanu have also visited the church for miracle healing.
Amokachi for a niggling knee at the peak of his career and Kanu, when he was diagnosed with a career-ending heart ailment in 1996.
Ghana President John Atta Mills and Zambia's former President, Frederick Chiluba have also visited this church.
A top team official later confirmed to MTNFootball.com that Yobo visted the church, which Nigeria coach, Shuaibu Amodu, had in November given credit to for praying for his team to gain a 2010 World Cup ticket.
Yobo suffered a hamstring injury early in the second half of Nigeria's Group C match against Benin in Benguela and was immediately replaced by Onyekachi Apam, who has since played in his place in the heart of the back four.
Apam got a red card against Zambia and will now not be available for selection against Ghana. Last week, a scan in Luanda showed that Yobo will be sidelined by at least two weeks, effectively ruling him out of the Nations Cup.
However, he has since returned to Angola and trained on his own. He was also on the bench when Nigeria beat Zambia 5-4 on penalties Monday night in Lubango.
Reproduced below unedited is Emeka Igwe's detailed, first-hand account of Yobo's miracle healing:
"This is an honest account. It actually shocked me as much as it probably will you, but it’s true. Just for the records, I am not a person who believes in miracles. Church, to me, is for the gullible. But that’s changing.
"It was Friday 22nd January and a good friend finally convinced me to come with him to a church called Synagogue in Ikotun, a dirty Lagos suburb. Although I’m a chronic cynic and had heard every form of negative rumour pedalled against the pastor there, I was also intrigued at the mystique surrounding the place which has become a source of argument for Nigerians.
"We pulled up within the church premises, got out and guess who I saw. Getting gingerly out of a white jeep was Joseph Yobo. Unmistakable. It was the Everton ace I had been watching a couple of days ago being battered by Benin and limping off the pitch in Angola.
"Out for the rest of the tournament they had said, a recurring hamstring injury. I watched him as he hobbled out, supported by a man who looked rather like him and another girl.
"My first impulse was to try and get a handshake, but one hefty security bloke with a stripy white shirt was following closely and shielding him from public disturbance. From a distance, I saw him go into a room on what looked like the second floor of the massive place.
"Obviously, I decided to hang around the area to see what would happen. I mean, it’s not every day you see someone like Yobo, especially not in a place like Synagogue when news had it he was back in England for medical treatment.
"What happened next genuinely astounded me. Sometime later, I saw Yobo walking out, a huge smile on his face. I was taken aback as he neared and it became all the clearer – he was no longer limping, but walking freely.
"He was with two young men, one whom I soon recognised to be Nigeria’s U-17 MVP and ace striker Sani Emmanuel, the other his Eaglets colleague Ogenyi Onazi. And that was it. He drove off and I later went home, pretty confused to be honest.
"Come Sunday I was compelled to return to the church, expectant to see Yobo testifying to the congregation about what had happened. Of course it was only after the service I read in the news he had returned to Angola to join the Eagles. Healed and ready for action. But I spotted the man and lady who had brought him there.
"I later learned it was Yobo’s brother and his wife, who had also come with Yobo’s mother for the service. Thanksgiving I guess. The service was both intense and incredible – a real eye-opener for sceptics. I must say I’m beginning to believe in this TB Joshua.
"Now, my reason for writing this is simple. I am sure Yobo will play in the semi-finals against Ghana come Thursday, and I want the world to know that I am a witness why. With his surprise return to Angola, some are attributing the remarkable recovery to medical treatment in England or France, but I know the actual truth. I saw him with my two eyes. It was in The Synagogue Church in Lagos where Yobo was revived!
"What touched me also is that Pastor T.B. Joshua never stood in church that Sunday to tell people who had visited him or the miracle that had happened. I was almost expecting him to brag about it, as most other pastors probably would. I guess he knows Yobo is old enough to explain himself. And I think he is also communicating that he is not the one who did it. Humble man.
"As for Yobo, I want to believe he is waiting until he plays before sharing this testimony. I was actually expecting him to call a press-conference or something similar upon returning to Angola to tell people why he’s back. But I’m sure he will. After all, if you hide your miracle, there’s no way it can last. And it’s good to acknowledge God as the source.
"So, whatever the outcome of this year’s African Cup of Nations, there is one thing I now know. There are miracles. For those thinking the age of miracles has past, I think Yobo is in the best position to tell you his own experience..."