It is no longer news that the erstwhile vice-captain of the Super Eagles, Victor Moses has retired from international football to focus on club career at the ‘prime age’ of 27 years.
The Chelsea wingback who started his international career with the English youth teams before switching allegiance to Nigeria said on Thursday that he would like to focus on his club career now and his young family. He has a son, Brentley, (born 2012) and a daughter, Nyah, (born 2015).
In his 37 appearances for the Super Eagles, he scored 12 goals for the national team which he joined in 2012 ahead of the 2013 African Cup of Nations which he won. He further featured for Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups in Brazil and Russia.
In a statement on his official twitter handle, Moses admitted that he enjoyed wearing the Green and White jersey of Nigeria but he was quick to add that he would want to bow out to see the new generation take over.
According to his statement, “However I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on club career and my young family as well as to allow the next generation of Super Eagles stars the opportunity to step up and to flourish. We are blessed as a nation to have so many exciting players coming through and now is their time”.
However, in the wake of his retirement which came as a shock to Nigerians, THE SPORTSBAY presents six players who may follow Moses into retirement.
1. Ahmed Musa: Nigeria’s highest goal scorer in FIFA World Cup tournaments may quit the stage for ‘new generation’ of players following his recent move Saudi Arabia club, Al-Nassr FC from Leicester City. The former Kano Pillars hitman who during the 2009/2010 season set a new all-time goals record of 18 in the NPFL made his senior debut in On 5 August 2010, at the age of 17 under Lars Lagerback. He played 73 times and scored 15 times in the process.
2. Mikel Obi: The China-based Super Eagles captain has always been in and out of the good books of Nigerians based on his performances for the country. He came into national recognition following his exploits during the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship where he won the Silver Ball for the second-best player at the tournament (behind Lionel Messi) as Nigeria finished runner-up to Argentina. He made his senior debut on 17 August 2005 and has made 85 appearances, scoring just 6 times winning the 2013 AFCON trophy and appeared in two World Cups.
3. Odion Ighalo: The 29-year-old Changchun Yatai striker may also quit the stage for the next generation after his indifferent performances for the national team with his age already proving a barrier to his continued stay in the Super Eagles set up. The former Julius Berger striker made his debut on 24 March 2015 under Daniel Amokachi. Though not prolific as expected of a forward, he managed to score 4 goals in 22 games for the Super Eagles.
4. Ogenyi Onazi: The Super Eagles vice-captain burst into the Nigerian team as a 16-year-old when he represented the country in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup from where he graduated to the senior team in 2012. He was part of the 2013 AFCON winning squad and appeared in 2014, 2018 FIFA World Cup editions, though he was unused throughout the tournament in Russia. He was castigated by Nigerians for his poor show during the friendly matches which may have necessitated his dropping to the bench by Gernot Rohr. His first and only goal came in his second international match, a 3–1 friendly win over Venezuela in Florida after 51 games.
5. Kenneth Omeruo: The Chelsea defender who is currently on loan to his 5th club played for the Under-20 team that reached the quarter-finals at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia. However, on 9 January 2013, he made his senior debut in a goalless draw against Cape Verde and was part of the 2013 AFCON title-winning squad. The 24-year-old defender has played 40 times with no goal to his name represented the country in 2 FIFA World Cup tournaments (2014, 2018).
6. Joel Obi: The 27-year-old midfielder has had a chequered career necessitated by constant injuries. He made his international debut for Nigeria on 9 February 2011 in a friendly game with Sierra Leone in Lagos and appeared 15 more times, scoring no goal in the process.
The Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr is currently out of the country scouting for players to invite and key into his vision of having a youthful side as he prepares for the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Seychelles. His list of those to feature in the game will to a large extent determine the future of some players.