As Nigerians bask in the euphoria of winning the African Cup of Nations title after 19 years in transit, we at Konnect Africa, join the continent to say, congrats Nigeria!!! It also seemed apt to write about an African star that is shining so bright for his prowess in football related matters; Victor Moses is his name!!! I am not a football enthusiast, but did I hear this name ring or what? I am also not as brave as I sound; I am usually petrified of watching live matches!!! Ah! The tension slays me!!! Anyways, after every match during the tournament, whether good or bad, I was sure to hear about the dexterity of Victor Moses, and how he was literarily ‘carrying’ the entire Super Eagles squad. When I did acquaint myself with his person, I was surprised to hear/read the details of his personal life and growth in football. Awe-inspiring; for his sake alone, I am so pleased that Nigeria ‘sortir victorieux d’un combat’-came out victorious!!!
This poem/ballad was culled from www.news.naij.com. I think it encapsulates the Victor Moses story, but I will add a few tidbits. Here goes:
“He had a choice not to step into Nigeria again but he didn’t take that option. When the call to serve his fatherland came, Moses dumped England and embraced Nigeria…That is patriotism!
Today, we see a Victor Moses bringing joy to every Nigerian including those who may have inspired his parent’s death…That is Love!
On Sunday, Moses would stand for the National Anthem and pledge allegiance to a country that couldn’t defend his parents…That is faith!
Moses would deliver the “African Cup of Nations” trophy to Nigeria not minding what had happened in the past… That is forgiveness!
Moses rose through bitterness and despair to the limelight of hope and courage. He never gave up on his country. He persevered… That is purpose!
If someone like Victor Moses, despite the bitter past, never gave up on Nigeria, then why should we!”
Victor was born in Kaduna, Nigeria, where he lived until the brutal murder of his missionary parents in 2002 at the hands of extremists in a religious riot. Just 11 then, young Victor was relocated to England by an uncle with a kind heart.
While a student of Stanley Technical High School (now known as the Harris Academy) in South Norwood, his skills continued to shine forth as he played football in the local Tandridge League, where scouts from Crystal Palace spotted and approached him. The scouts were so impressed that he was offered a place in the Eagles’ Academy; he accepted.
He first came to national prominence at the age of14 after scoring 50 goals for the Palace’s under-14 side. He took a giant step forward at Selhurt Park in the 2007-08 season, when he made 13 appearances for the first-team. With his stock continuing to rise, Moses signed a four-year deal to stay at Selhurst Park in 2008 and enthralled all during the Championships where he became an important member of the team. A goal return of six in 18 matches at the start of the 2009-10 season attracted Wigan, who pounced to bring him in on the last day of the transfer window and he was sold to aid Palace’s financial plight. After that campaign, with only one year remaining on his contract, Chelsea made several attempts to sign him and, while Wigan resisted several offers, they finally caved in towards the end of the summer window. Chelsea Manager Roberto Di Matteo, had this to say about Victor, “He can play on either wing and will give the team width. He has good dribbling ability, has pace and is powerful. We’ve tried very hard to get this player. We like him very much. He’s young and hopefully he’ll be the future of the club.” [www.soccernet.espn.go.com]
Victor [naturally, in my opinion,] chose to represent his adopted home in international matches. From the age of 16, he featured for the under-16 team, in which he won the Victory Shield in 2005. He travelled with the squad to the 2007 UEFA European U-17 Championship in Belgium, scoring three times and though they did not win, Victor finished as the competition’s top scorer and was awarded the Golden Boot for doing so. He was also a part of the squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup which held in South Korea.
Subsequently, Victor was promoted to the under-18 squad, and on to the under-19’s in quick succession. At the beginning of the 2010-2011 Premier League season, Victor was moved up to the under-21 squad. That same year, Nigeria, his birth country suddenly reached out for him, and quite interestingly, he obliged. Perhaps blood is truly thicker than water. However, he was ruled out of those games because his application to FIFA to switch nationalities was not received on time.
Finally, in November, 2011, Victor was cleared by FIFA to play for his fatherland. Called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Victor dazzled as he scored two penalties in the final group stage game against Ethiopia. Nigeria needed a win in the match to go through to quarter finals. Sunday Mba scored the only goal of the match in the finals against Burkina Faso’s Stallions, and the rest as they say, is history.Victor was named to the ‘team of the tournament’ alongside four other Nigerians, and also received the tournament award for “Best Fair-Play Player”.
Victor tweeted, “This is one of best days of my life, this is a dream come true. I’m so proud to be Nigerian. The win is for each and everyone of you back home,” a few hours after the award ceremony.
I am sure they appreciate it Victor. You have come a long way indeed! We wish you a splendid, award-filled, momentous, injury-free, title-full, rewarding and exhilarating career!!! And well done, Super Eagles, you are chickens no more.