Long serving Super Eagles speed demon Ahmed Musa has declared his readiness to represent Nigeria at the Afcon next year with the hope of winning the tournament.
This week, the Super Eagles begin their quest to qualify for 2023 Afcon with a home fixture against Sierra Leone. As Musa came out with his ambitions with the team, a body of fans are perplexed that he hasn't resigned from national duty. Musa himself is unruffled by rumours swirling around regarding his international future.
I didn't tell anyone that I am finished with the Super Eagles. AFCON is next year and I am still active playing in Turkey and if the coaches find me good to be at the AFCON in Ivory Coast, I will gladly go and help my country to win it. I will always honor invitation to serve my country and give my best.” Affirmed Musa in emphatic fashion.
It is crystal clear that the romance between Ahmed Musa and a body of Super Eagles fans has gone awry. If truth be told though, even in his prime, Ahmed Musa was never a huge fan favourite, he has always divided opinions.
His saving grace was, is and will forever remain his extraterrestrial world cup goals that came straight out of planet-unexpected. I for one prefer the style of the following wingers/strikers compared to Musa: John Utaka, Olanrewaju Kayode, Imoh Ezekiel, Obinna Nsofor, Victor Moses and even Brown Ideye.
These players played with poise, elegance and panache often missing in Musa's style. They tend to tickle at fans' heartstrings. But, as silky and elegant as these ones were, they will never come close to Musa in the history books simply because of his world cup heroics against Argentina and Iceland.
Those Fabulous moments are however not good enough to attract unconditional loyalty: many Super Eagles fans are not giving Musa a reprieve. They want him to hang up his national team boot, and for him to do that now.
But I have no problems with Musa being in the squad.
He still has his pace, arguably his only ever potent weapon. Musa has never been a prolific winger. He does score goals, beautiful ones at that; but they are few and far between and getting even fewer with age catching up with him.
Musa’s output in front of goal has steadily dwindled in recent times. He managed only 4 goals across 32 games in Turkey last season. In his last season in Saudi Arabia (2019/20), he scored the same 4 goals in 29 games. He didn’t even light up the Nigeria Professional Football League with goals after leaving Saudi Arabia.
For Nigeria, he has 16 goals in 102 outings – not the most lethal of our forwards.
But the current coaching adminstrative set up of the Super Eagles are still very much in favour of his continued invitation. Musa must have a healthy blend of charm and leadership skills to keep him in the good books of the NFF hierarchy.
There is also precedent for this sort of thing. Legendary Nwankwo Kanu continued to be invited as the Super Eagles captain way past his best. Over the hill Keshi and crocked Daniel Amokachi earned Super Eagles invitations for their past exploits rather than their present match-worthiness and fitness at the time.
Plus, some fans (however few) either retain affection for Musa or (like me) are not particularly bothered about his continued invitation.
From the looks of things, only 4 factors will lead to Musa exclusion from the team: 1) injury 2) Voluntary resignation 3) Massive fallout with the coach and NFF 4) Permanent inactivity in club football.
Unless any of the aforementioned happens, Musa will continue to be involved and invited to the Super Eagles; and his growing army of detractors will continue to complain.
After all, what else can they do?
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