By Amechi Agbo
By featuring in Nigeria’s 1-0 friendly loss to African champions, Algeria on Friday in Austria, Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa has become the country’s 3rd most capped player in history, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
The Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia striker made his debut for the senior national team ten years ago and yesterday he beat his predecessor Mikel Obi to record 92 caps for the Super Eagles. A milestone he achieved below three decades of age.
Musa made his official national team debut on 5 August 2010, at the age of 17, for the Nigeria senior team in a qualification match for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations against Madagascar, where he came on as a substitute for John Obi Mikel in a 2–0 win.
The Former Kano Pillars forward scored his first goal for the Super Eagles in a March 2011 friendly against Kenya.
Having featured against Algeria, Ahmed Musa has overtaken John Obi Mikel to become Nigeria’s third most-capped player with 92 international appearances. Mikel who retired in 2019 after the Eagles finished 3rd at the Nations Cup in Egypt made a record 91 appearances for the team.
In April 2011, Ahmed Musa was included in the Nigeria national under-20 football team squad to represent the nation in the 2011 African Youth Championship qualifiers, even though VVV Venlo had declared him unavailable for the tournament due to club commitments. After some intense negotiations with the Nigerian Federation, VVV Venlo and Musa’s representatives it was agreed that Musa will shuttle between the Netherlands and South Africa to participate in the tournament with the national team. After the opening game against defending champions Ghana, Musa won the most valuable player award and boarded the next flight back to the Netherlands.
In August 2011, Musa represented Nigeria U20 in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Colombia, where he scored three goals in five matches. Musa was included by FIFA in shortlist of 10 candidates for the Adidas Golden Ball, which was awarded to the most outstanding player of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
On 7 December 2011, Ahmed Musa was one of the four nominees named for the Confederation of African Football Most Promising Talent Award, however the award went to Ivory Coast’s Souleymane Coulibaly.
Musa was called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. He scored in a 4–1 semi-final defeat of Mali and appeared as a substitute against Burkina Faso in the final, as the Super Eagles won their third continental title. Overall, he appeared in five of the team’s six matches. At the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, he started in all three of the team’s matches as they were eliminated in the group stage.
After appearing in all of Nigeria’s qualifying matches, Musa was named in Stephen Keshi’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He scored two goals in the team’s final Group F match, a 3–2 defeat to Argentina.
In May 2018 he was named in Nigeria’s preliminary 30-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Though his performance against Iceland was superb, it was not even enough to keep the West Africans in the tournament as they were eliminated by Argentina
On 22 June 2018, Musa scored twice in a 2–0 victory over Iceland in their second group match of the World Cup.
In June 2019 he became the third most capped player for Nigeria’s national team, surpassing Nwankwo Kanu, after appearing in a friendly against Zimbabwe. He was named in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations team by head coach Gernot Rohr.
Former skippers of the team, Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo are the most capped players in the country with both tied on 101 appearances for in their careers.
With those men retired from football and just 9 caps separating them from Musa, it is hoped that the 27 years old captain will supersede his erstwhile predecessors.
Musa is currently the highest World Cup goal scorer for the Super Eagles with four goals in two tournaments appearances.