Now that Victor Moses has retired…

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Victor Moses, who represented Nigeria at the senior level for six years, and played 37 games has called time on his international career. The forward announced that he wants to focus on his club career, and while we wish him well, there is need to point out that…

The Super Eagles must now quickly find another winger, or learn to play without one. Moses Simon fitted the bill as the perfect replacement for Moses, but didn’t play enough high-stakes game for us to correctly assess his true international quality. Let’s push the envelope further, Nigeria must quickly find Simon’s true international-level, and then find another winger that can step in when Simon may not be available. The other part about learning to play without a winger is also important: The Eagles have looked listless when forced to play through the middle, that has got to change.

Moses’ retirement may open a floodgate as other players may opt out of the national team. It is Victor Moses today, it may be any of Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Elderson Echiejile, or Odion Ighalo tomorrow. We may be seeing the end of an era, and that would mean the ‘rebuilding’ we have been mouthing for years would really be upon us. These are the last players from the 2013 team that won the Africa Cup of Nations, and their leadership when the team is in camp, is invaluable. Should that be lost, the chances of Nigeria being at the next Nations Cup would have reduced. The NFF, and Gernot Rohr should anticipate this, and be ready with a Plan B, which may include…

Focusing on, and harvesting local talent for the Eagles. This is not a popular opinion in some quarters, but the time may have come to aggressively focus on making the home league better. The Eagles will need players who are either still playing there, or who have secured moves to high class clubs abroad from the home league, like Oghenekaro Etebo and Shehu Abdullahi. The recruitment of foreign-born Nigerians will trail off at some point, and we will need these home-baked boys for some games on the continent.

The retirement also makes it easy for the coach to plan ahead. As brilliant and as useful as Moses was to the Eagles, his penchant for choosing games to play for Nigeria, and pulling out at the last minute meant that the coach was left scratching his head on how to deploy his team. All that has ended. Now, we know that the genius of Moses will not be available for Seychelles, or for that crucial last game away at South Africa, the game is still some months away, other veterans may retire before then. We know…and should not be surprised.

Finally, this is the chance for Gernot Rohr to fully become his own man. Most of the players that have shone under his watch were carry-overs from other eras. He has travelled, and is still travelling wide in Europe and Asia; and lots of Nigerian players are in those leagues. The pressure of World Cup qualification is over, the canvass is blank. It is time to make his own mark with new players. 

 

 

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