Football is a game that shows many sides to the actors, the players. They enjoy the good side and the other side as well. Coaches, fans and administrators of the game also endure various sides of the game. That is why people talk about the three results in the game – win, draw or a defeat. The implication of results also affects individuals, groups or teams. 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 made money in oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia or Qatar while some also target booming leagues like the Major League Soccer in the United States.
Manchester United’s striker, Edinson Cavani, is already making plans to go back to the Uruguayan league. Many South American players from Brazil and Argentina end their football careers in 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 was not 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, Daniel Amokachi, also returned to the domestic league at some point in his career. In the past few months, the career of Eagles skipper Ahmed Musa has been hanging without a club after he left his Saudi Arabian club Al Nasr.
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 starts were not called up. And so it was indeed not a surprise when Musa decided to rejoin Kano Pillars on a short-term deal.
It is largely believed that 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. It is a step in the right direction for Musa but he must be ready to prove himself and make a remarkable impact in the club. Pillars players should count themselves lucky having a player of Musa’s calibre in their mist to galvanize them as a role model on and off the pitch. 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. Amokachi also commended Musa’s move as he also called on the management of Pillars and the League Management Company, organisers of the Nigeria Football Professional League, to take advantage of Musa’s return to add spice into the domestic league. If Musa is made to enjoy his return to Pillars, it could bring back some other ageing players into the domestic scene. 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. It is important to stress that Musa’s return to active football in Pillars is 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, Eagles.