Barring any unforeseen incident, you expect Ahmed Musa to officially make 100 Nigeria appearances eventually.
Vincent Enyeama makes a bold Nigeria claim, but is he right? [Pulse Contributor Opinion]
The retired goalkeeper rued the fact the Super Eagles hasn’t produced more Centurions.
Many thought the attacker had hit the landmark with his start in Cape Verde in early September, a match the Super Eagles prevailed 2-1. The former Leicester City forward had his bubble burst after FIFA revealed two of the supposed century of games didn’t count.
The sport’s governing body rescinded the 3-0 defeat of Togo in a friendly match in Paris in June 2017 and the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifier against Algeria in Constantine in November 2017, owing to both sides exceeding their allotted number of substitutions and an ineligible player featuring respectively.
NFF's Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire said in a statement: "We defer to FIFA in this regard, so Ahmed Musa has 98 caps.
“If he features, as expected, in the home-and-away matches against the Central African Republic in October, he will clock the tally of 100 and the celebrations will follow in full flow.”
Following the incident with Musa, former Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama — one of two Centurions together with Joseph Yobo — bemoaned the fact the nation hasn’t produced more over the years.
“One hundred caps is nothing. I think is a shame that we have only two players that have played for Nigeria up to 100 times,” the ex-Lille shot-stopper told ESPN.
“It is a big shame because with the quality we have in Nigeria we should have more. That shows that there is a lack of continuity, consistency, commitment on the part of the players and management.
“Look at other top football countries, you will find that many of their players, active and retired, have more than 100 caps. But we have players in Nigeria playing 10 to 15 years and still don't get up to 100 caps because these coaches come in and change players all the time.
“Players like Jay-Jay (Okocha), Peter Rufai, Kanu deserve to have more than 100 caps. Sadly, Mikel could not get up to 100 because he was very close to it. Going forward we need to do better. We need more players to get there.”
Despite the disappointment, Enyeama praised Musa for his staying power and constancy, expecting him to reach the achievement eventually.
“I always knew he would get to hundred caps,” the former Enyimba goalie continued. “I [know he will] break that record because he has been consistent, and he has been one of the few Nigerians that have always shown up to play in the team whenever he has been called up.
“If he is in good health, I think Musa can get up to 130 caps. He is doing well; he is the captain of the team. With the time he has, he can still get up to 40 more games for the country, comfortably.
"Musa is a top player. I want him to make 130-140 easy. Musa can comfortably play two Afcons and that is 12 games already. Then another set of qualifiers. And another World Cup to crown it off. He can achieve it without any push.”
Of the current crop, there’s an expectation for Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Osimhen and perhaps Alex Iwobi to go close given their ages and importance to the national team.
While the Napoli frontman is yet to hit the 20-game mark, the other pair are nearing a half-century and ought to aim for a 100 as they’re still in their mid-20s.
Perhaps, in a matter of years, Enyeama’s dissatisfaction will be lessened if the aforementioned players become Centurions.
Seye Omidiora is a passionate football writer and pundit whose deep appreciation for the beautiful game exceeds the usual. He is currently a columnist for Goal Africa and has previously written for Vital Football UK, IBCity Info and Opera News.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
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