Salute To Captain Fantastic, Ahmed Musa, On Historic 109 Caps

    Ahmed Musa, captain fantastic

    By Farouk Yarma

    On Monday, March 27, Super Eagles’ indefatigable captain, Ahmed Musa, made history when he came on as a second-half substitute in the return leg of the 2023 AFCON Qualifier against the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau to become Nigeria’s most capped player ever.

    Apart from setting the record of 109 caps for Nigeria, Musa who made his Super Eagles debut in 2010 also surpassed the 108 records of other greats like Zinedine Zidane of France, German’s Jurgen Klinsmann, and England’s Tom Cahill.

    Apart from amassing such number of caps, Musa who scored his first international goal on March 29, 2011 in Super Eagles’ 3-0 thrashing of the Harambee Stars of Kenya in an international friendly has to his name a total of 16 goals, one AFCON title in 2013 and four goals at two editions of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and 2018, making him Nigeria’s most successful forward at FIFA’s World Cup.

    Without any doubt, these accomplishments by the committed and dedicated Kano Pillars legend are worthy of celebration because attaining such lofty height in a rigorous and highly competitive sport like football is no mean achievement. 

    The 30-year-old Sivasspor of Turkey attacking winger has indeed etched his name in gold and has earned for himself a permanent place in the annals of Nigerian Today, I have chosen to celebrate Captain Fantastic not only as Nigeria’s most-capped international player but also as an outstanding football player who has lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation by upcoming athletes. 

    Despite his many achievements, Musa has refused to allow success to get into his head or separate him from his roots as he has remained accessible and available for all irrespective of social status.

    Even as Super Eagles captain, Musa is always the first to arrive at the national team camp whenever called upon to serve his fatherland. Unlike some of his compatriots who at times choose matches to play or invitations to honour, he is always available for selection.

    I remember when, in 2011, at the Africa Youth Championship, he had to shuttle between the Netherlands and South Africa when VVV Venlo finally agreed to release him for the Championship.

    Another intriguing thing about him is his leadership qualities. Since he became the substantive captain of the Super Eagles, Musa’s reign has effectively ended the constant bickering that ensued between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and his predecessors as he is skillful with the ball at his feet, that’s the way he is when it comes to peaceful resolution of disputes.

    I, therefore, laughed when a few days back, someone who claims to know it all tried to undermine Musa’s leadership qualities by calling him a ‘rubber stamp’ captain. According to the misguided writer, the Super Eagles’ captain is not combative enough to lead, so he should be removed for a more vocal and no-nonsense teammate to be appointed in his place.

    Such an opinion is nothing but balderdash to be cast immediately into a trash can. Musa’s longevity in football is no doubt due to his hard work, self-discipline, professionalism, and patriotism. These are virtues that other players in the Super Eagles and aspiring players must copy diligently to attain his success.

    It will, therefore, not be out of place for Nigerians to roll out the drums to celebrate this living legend who at 30 years is not showing any sign of fatigue in serving his fatherland.

    I salute you, the most capped and most dependable Super Eagles captain.

    Bldr Mal Farouk Yarma FNIOB, an astute football administrator, wrote from Gombe.

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