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Ghana-Nigeria Combined XI: Yobo vs Paintsil

6:18 PM EDT 3/15/22
Nigeria-Ghana Yobo Paintsil
Which will be the first defender selected in our combined Black Stars-Super Eagles Dream Team?

  • Mikel Essien Finidi

    Ghana-Nigeria Combined XI

    Ahead of next week’s World Cup qualifying double header between Nigeria and Ghana, GOAL Africa are picking our dream combined XI between these two West African heavyweights.

    Both the Super Eagles and the Black Stars have storied histories in continental and global competition, and our shortlist for this combined Dream Team was overflowing with elite African talent.

    Vincent Enyeama has already seen off Robert Mensah to take his place between the sticks, but who will join him in the defensive unit between Joseph Yobo and John Paintsil?

  • Joseph Yobo

    International career

    Despite making his international debut in 2001, it was only in the tail end of his Nigeria career that Yobo got the success his longevity and quality deserved.

    He’d reached four previous Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals before finally winning the big one as a veteran member of Stephen Keshi’s fine side in 2013, the pinnacle of his career.

    Paintsil never won the Nations Cup—he was a defeated semi-finalist on three occasions—although he was part of the Ghana side that reached the World Cup quarter-final in 2010.

    Yobo, for his part, took part in three World Cups, making the Last 16 with the Eagles in 2014.

    Winner: Yobo

  • Joseph Yobo - Everton

    Club Career

    Yobo edges this one as well, having both spent more years at a higher level than Pantsil, and having achieved more success than the Ghana international.

    The former Everton man was part of David Moyes’ excellent Toffees side for eight years, helping the Merseysiders push for Champions League qualification, and then went on to enjoy three successful years in the Turkish Super Lig.

    He was a league champion with Fenerbahce in 2011, and won two Turkish Cup finals.

    Paintsil spent six years in the Premier League—either side of spells in Israeli football—with Fulham’s run to the Europa League final in 2010 the highlight of his time in the English game.

    While he did achieve success in Israel—both with Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv—his silverware is eclipsed by Yobo’s.

    Winner: Yobo

  • Joseph Yobo Fenerbahce STSL

    Individual Accolades

    Both of these two made Caf’s Team of the Year, with Paintsil included in 2009, and Yobo making the selection twice—in both 2005 and 2008.

    For a long time Nigeria’s record cap holder, and still one of only three Super Eagles to have made over a century of appearances for the national side, Yobo has since been pipped by Ahmed Musa.

    Winner: Yobo

  • John Paintsil of West Ham United

    Ability

    Despite starting off as a right-back earlier in his career—including in his international career—6’2 Yobo truly made a name for himself as a centre-back, and it was in this role that he really established himself with Everton.

    His pace and versatility made him a fine defensive talent, and if we’re evaluating Yobo and Paintsil on their overall qualities, then the former would have the edge.

    However, while Yobo featured at right-back early in his career, he eventually grew into a more central role, whereas Paintsil built his whole career as one of the finest right-backs in the African game.

    His pace, strength and fine right-foot made him popular with Fulham fans, and a more effective right-back than Yobo.

    Winner: Paintsil

  • Joseph Yobo lifts Afcon trophy

    Who makes the cut?

    Yobo makes it 2/2 for Nigeria in our combined XI as he sneaks into the side ahead of Paintsil.

    The latter might have been a more recognised right-back during his career, but Yobo proved with both Nigeria and Everton that he could play in this role, and for his athleticism, defensive qualities, and leadership skills, we had to get him in.

    Winner: Yobo