One of the ‘young eagles’ isn’t interested in flying again. In four years time, he would have grown into a captain and one of the most experienced players in the Super Eagles.
But Victor Moses isn’t going to become that. Six years after making his debut, the Chelsea player has decided to call it quit with the national team at the age of 27.
Depending on the clime and activity, the announcement of Victor Moses’ retirement from international football on Wednesday afternoon would meet Nigerians, probably under the sun or in the rain. Some might even be at work or stuck in traffic.
Whatever activity it was, the announcement was sudden, except for few who had insights, no one saw it coming.
The player cited family and club commitments as his major reasons while adding that it was pertinent to give other youngsters some chance. For the records, Moses made 37 appearances for Nigeria, scoring 12 goals. In those caps, there was an AFCON triumph in 2013 and two FIFA World Cup appearances in 2014 and 2018.
As much as the decision of Moses would be respected, the reasons for his early retirement are merely scratching the surface. The untold stories are hinged on his role, performance, and of course relationship within the team.
Moses came into limelight in the English Premier League and had already represented England at age-grade levels before making the decision to play for Nigeria. Whatever influenced his decision then, every soccer aficionado in Nigeria was going to forgive that and welcome the eye-catching winger into the Eagles – he could have been a lion.
Victor Moses with The AFCON 2013 Trophy
In the mix of the national team, he wasn’t the typical Finidi George or Ibrahim Babangida type of winger. He was different, combining flair, pace, power and technique to the pleasure of Nigerians. It didn’t take time for him to become the most wanted Eagle.
But those flashes of excellence waned by the year. Nevertheless, Moses was still a regular player, even when he decides to absent himself from the national team. The trouble had doubled; waning performance and test of loyalty.
Off the back of the group stage exit in Russia, it’s worth guessing the idea started playing in his head. So like he decided to don the green jersey, he also thought it was time to use the exit door.
Looking at the qualitative and quantitative impact, it’s fair to say Moses has left a void in the ranks of the Super Eagles but the shoes he left aren’t too big to step into.
So if the standard isn’t too high, filling the void is way important than his retirement but the one million dollars question is, who steps in?
With the 2019 AFCON qualifiers to come in a couple of days, Genort Rohr has to decide who to invite from the array of players home and abroad.
Frankly, a midfield position would have been much easier to fill than this. It’s not because it was Moses that played there, it’s because it’s a position that has plagued the Super Eagles even before Moses came into the picture.
Currently, the only name that comes to mind is the new Bordeaux man, Samuel Kalu. All things being equal, he will become an added supplement to Ahmed Musa and the injured Moses Simon before any note could be passed about him.
There’s no gainsaying about Victor Moses’s short but successful stint, but if the relationship was mutually exhaustive, I might never be able to tell.