Super Eagles Opinion: Why Does Ahmed Musa Continue to Get Called Up?

Super Eagles Opinion: Why Does Ahmed Musa Continue to Get Called Up?
Credit: Iconsport

Earlier this week, the Nigeria National Football team 23 man squad was announced for the next round of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 qualifiers fixtures against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe.

Before the squad was announced, fans of the Nigeria Super Eagles were anticipating some brand new faces in attack who have had excellent seasons for their clubs and have done enough to earn their first cap for the country.

 

When the squad was announced on Friday, the reaction was less than positive, to say the least. A lot of the regular names were called up to the squad but Super Eagles fans were particularly incensed by the inclusion of Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa to the fold once again. 

Musa’s Refusal to Retire Hinders the Team’s Progress

Ahmed Musa is the most capped player in the history of the National team and is undoubtedly a legendary figure for the generation that watched him play, but his continued presence in the squad means that younger players who are ready to take up the mantle are not even given the opportunity.

Victor Boniface, who ended his campaign with Royal Union Saint Guillose with 22 goals and 12 assists in 55 games as well as becoming the UEFA Europa League’s top scorer with six goals, astonishingly did not make the national team. 

Another talent who did not make the team was Gift Orban. The KAA Gent player has become a fan favorite among Super Eagles fans but his 20 goals in 22 games this year was not enough to earn him a callup. It is almost criminal that at least one of these two attackers did not get a national team spot.

But why does Jose Peseiro keep calling him up? Those who are on the side of Ahmed Musa’s inclusion feel like his leadership and experience is necessary for the team, even if he is not playing. The player himself has said that much and feels like he still has a role on the team.

The 30-year-old is definitely seen as a leader within the camp but the squad is one that consists of capable leaders as well. William Troost-Ekong has been the leader of the team on the pitch and is the current vice captain. The likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi are seasoned veterans in the national team who are locker room leaders as well.

It is true that Musa has invaluable experience, but the camp can make up for that with the other leaders in the squad. Musa’s continued callup to the team could also be as a result of the politics which happen behind the scenes. The systemic issues that have plagued the country at large also plays a part here and the coach may have been left with no choice but to include the 30-year-old.

Musa Hits Back at Critics

In the Early hours of Saturday Morning, Musa published a tweet that seemingly responded to the uproar around his national team callup. He posted a picture of himself with a caption saying: “Like me or hate me, a day will come that you will tell your kids a story about Ahmed Musa MON”

This tweet shows a lack of self awareness from a player who is well past his best. Understanding when it is time to take a bow and leave the next generation to pick up where you left off is also part of helping the team, but Musa does not seem to understand that, unlike his former teammates, Odion Ighalo and John Obi Mikel.

He is affectionately nicknamed “The Governor” in the Super Eagles camp, but it’s time for his long tenure to come to an end.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

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