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Beyond Ahmed Musa’s return to Kano Pillars

Since last year, the career of Eagles skipper Ahmed Musa has been hanging without a club after he left his Saudi Arabian side Al Nasr. We recall he made waves at CSKA Moscow and was a shining light in the Nigerian team at the Brazil 2014 World Cup. His two goals against Argentina in an explosive match the country lost 3-2 will forever linger in the memory of fans of football. It was like a contest between Musa and football legend, Lionel Messi, as they both registered a brace in the encounter. In the last FIFA window, Eagles Manager, Gernot Rohr, was forced to explain why Musa was on the list of invited players when other active stars were not called up.

We believe it was not a surprise that Musa decided to rejoin Kano Pillars on a short-term deal. No doubt, the need to retain his status in the Eagles informed Musa’s decision to sign for Pillars coupled with the fact that he has to be fit to get another club abroad.

This is a step in the right direction for Musa but we must stress that he must be ready to prove himself and make an impressive impact with the club. Pillars’ players should count themselves lucky having a player of Musa’s calibre in their midst to galvanize them as a role model on and off the pitch.

Gernot Rohr was swift with his response with the move as he noted that it was a plus for the Eagles’ chase for a World Cup ticket. “His move to Pillars will make him to be match fit for Nigeria and there will be more options in the attack,” Rohr said. A former International, Daniel Amokachi, commended Musa’s move as he also called on the management of Pillars and the League Management Company (LMC), organisers of the Nigeria Football Professional League (NPFL), to take advantage of Musa’s return to add spice to the domestic league.

If Musa is made to enjoy his return to Pillars, a club he left in 2012, we believe, it could bring back some other ageing players into the domestic scene. For example, goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba is currently with Kwara United after his exploits abroad especially in Israel. Pillars’ players should learn from the humble nature of Musa and also ask questions about his work rate and speed. We must stress that Musa’s return to active football in Pillars should not enough to earn him automatic shirts in the team and in the Eagles.

He has to merit the shirt so that some other up-and-coming players will not be at a disadvantage over this development. The physical trainers should do more of the work in the next few weeks while we await what Musa will do in Kano and by extension, the Eagles.

Football is a game that shows many sides to the actors, the players. They enjoy the good side and the bad side as well. Coaches, fans and administrators of the game also endure various sides of the sport. That is why people talk about the three possible results in the game – win, draw or defeat. The implication of the results also affects individuals, groups or teams.

We are aware many professional footballers strive to end their careers in their domestic leagues as a way of saying bidding farewell to their local fans. Some strive to make money in oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia or Qatar while others also target booming leagues like the Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States. Manchester United striker, Edinson Cavani, is already making plans to return to the domestic league in his native Uruguay. Many South American players from Brazil and Argentina end their football careers back in their domestic leagues. Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and other stars went back to Brazil after their exploits in Europe.

Late football icon, Diego Maradona, an Argentine, was all over the world with his talent but he eventually went back home towards the end of his career. English legend, Wayne Rooney was an Everton player from a tender age but made his mark at Manchester United. Towards the end of his career, he went back to Everton.

The story has not been anyway different in Nigeria. The late Rasidi Yekini after his sojourn abroad came back to the domestic league and his impact was massive for both Julius Berger and Gateway Football Club. Another former international, Amokachi, also returned to the domestic league at some point in his career.

We charge the football authorities in the country to make the domestic league more interesting for fans. Only last week, it was reported that an Egyptian defender Mahmoud Jamaal had joined NPFL side, Wikki Tourist. We need more of such moves to show that the country’s domestic league can attract the best legs on the continent.

This could be the beginning of a revolution in the NPFL if globally known players are in the league, especially as fans are expected to resume soon on the stands. Musa was a former highest scorer in the league and his return is a big deal if the authorities can take due advantage of the situation.

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