Football or Commerce: Why does Victor Moses want a Super Eagles Return now?

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It’s been three years since Victor Moses called time on international football, but this week a potential return to the Super Eagles for the 30 year-old has sparked a buzz.

So, who actually wants Moses back: Gernot Rohr or the NFF or is this a career decision with a purely monetary motivation for the player?

 

Retrospectively, in his six years and 37 appearances as a Nigeria international, the Winger’s time were some of the most exciting in recent history and it is perhaps why his decision to leave the scene even without a guard of honor (not like the NFF ever offered it to retiring players) left fans gobsmacked.
Among those memories were crucial goals at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 and one at the World Cup in 2018.
Those intimate moments also reflected in his younger days at club level where he came to prominence after his move from Wigan Athletic to Chelsea in 2012.
Most might not remember he became a journey man despite a fairly decent debut season with the Blues, winning the Europa League.
Not fitting the profile of the atypical Winger with Jose Mourinho and so for two season the Crystal Palace academy graduate would become an item in the club’s bloated loan system leaving temporarily to Liverpool, West Ham and Stoke City before his return to Stamford Bridge in 2016.
Prominent for Chelsea as a Wing-back under the guidance of Antonio Conte, Moses was at his most effective since his debut season at the club.
However, there was conflict after those two good seasons and Conte’s successors Mauricio Sarri and eventually Frank Lampard decided his fate.
It is also on record that the player didn’t want to carryover that role (WB) to the national team, one of the rumored reasons he was at loggerheads with Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr at the World Cup in Russia.
Moses was somewhat blamed for the goal that got the team eliminated from the competition.
He failed to track back and lost his man, the lazy defending left Marcos Rojo free to hit a perfect match winning strike that sent Argentina through to the round of 16.
Two months later the Player posted his retirement on social media and explained he needed to focus on his club career and “Young family” as well as to “allow the next generation of Super Eagles stars the opportunity to step up and to flourish.”
Full statement below:
I would like to announce that after much thought I have made the decision to retire from playing international football.
I have experienced some of the best moments of my life wearing the Super Eagles shirt and have memories with me that will last a lifetime.
Nothing will ever compete to what it felt like to represent Nigeria on behalf of our country.
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 young players coming through and now is their time.
I have already spoken to the manager by telephone and would like to say thank you to him and his staff, the NFF and all of my teammates for all of their support over the years.
Most importantly I would like to say thank you to the Nigerian people for believing in me and supporting me over the years. It’s meant the world to me and my family and I will always be a proud Nigerian supporting the team.
Thank you for the memories and good luck to the team for the future.
But, fast forward to December 2022, a month before the AFCON and the Player’s representative Drew Uyi revealed Moses is open to coming out of international retirement “for a year” – the absurdity.
Although no specific time for the return was stated, it’s believed the Winger, who currents plays for Russian Premier League side Spartak Moscow, is targeting the AFCON in Cameroon and the World Cup – if Nigeria qualifies for the latter.
Per Complete Sports, Uyi who is a UK based Athlete Branding Expert, was quoted during his interview with The Football Show on YouTube. [ FL can’t independently confirm this interview took place].
“He (Moses) will come back, but he’s not fussy about it,” sports agent Drew Uyi told The Football Show.
β€œHe could come for a year.
β€œHe is a professional, he will always deliver.
It wasn’t as though there hadn’t been attempts to bring the player back though. Sometime in 2019 Rohr was eager and approached Moses to come out of retirement, but that move failed.
Since then the German has had to rotate his options between Samuel Kalu, Chidera Ejuke, Ahmed Musa, Samuel Chukwueze, Henry Onyekuru, Moses Simon and Dennis Emmanuel.
Despite the pool, there’s been very little consistency, perhaps Rohr’s tactics and strategies have been partly responsible for the underwhelming performances.
Below we compare Victor Moses’ stats (Appearances, Goals, Assists, Minutes played) in the current League campaign with the other options available to Rohr:
V. Moses: Spartak Moscow
πŸ₯… 14
⚽ 1
πŸ‘Ÿ 1
⏱️ 1057
H. Onyekuru: Olympiacos
πŸ₯… 9
⚽ 0
πŸ‘Ÿ 0
⏱️ 470
A. Musa: Karagumruk
πŸ₯… 14
⚽ 1
πŸ‘Ÿ 1
⏱️ 821
C. Ejuke: CSKA Moscow
πŸ₯… 17
⚽ 4
πŸ‘Ÿ 3
⏱️ 1279
S. Chukwueze: Villarreal
πŸ₯… 8
⚽ 1
πŸ‘Ÿ 0
⏱️ 223
M. Simon: Nantes
πŸ₯… 16
⚽ 1
πŸ‘Ÿ 6
⏱️ 1322
E. Dennis: Watford
πŸ₯… 14
⚽ 6
πŸ‘Ÿ 5
⏱️ 1084
S. Kalu: Bordeaux
πŸ₯… 10
⚽ 1
πŸ‘Ÿ 1
⏱️ 321
Nigeria have faced weaker sides in the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers which is why it isn’t difficult to reach that verdict with Rohr – in the light of the relatively contrasting outputs they’ve had for their respective club sides.
Hence it might not be far fetched to see the 68 year-old reaching out once again to Moses and the NFF wouldn’t be a stumbling block to that demand neither even at the detriment of the younger players who might be doing way better and in bigger leagues.
But what about the commercial side to the move for the 30 year-old? What does he stand to gain if he returns to international football?
Perhaps more endorsements and what’s to say he couldn’t get a review of his Nike contract at this point.
The Midfielder took a pay cut to facilitate his initial loan move to Spartak Moscow last year and no doubt his absence from the international scene will have its consequence, a fact his Brand advisor mentioned in that now famous interview.
β€œI remember I got him an endorsement around the time he quit the Super Eagles and because the deal was tied to the national team, they pulled the plug on it.”
Whatever the reason for this sudden change of heart for Moses – Rohr’s desperation or the player’s own personal interest, the timing makes it all the more fascinating yet troubling and the impact on the team itself is the bigger concern.

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