BY KUNLE SOLAJA
Super Eagles’ skipper and one of the three most capped international footballers from Nigeria, Ahmed Musa is 29 today. Last Sunday, in leading Nigeria to a soul-lifting 2-0 win away from home over Central African Republic, he officially clocked 101 caps, even though Fifa had initially denied his 100th cap which was supposed to be at the 2-1 defeat of Cape Verde last month.
But in an instagram post on Sunday, Fifa congratulated him for his 101. The first match with Central African Republic in Lagos may have been taken as his 100th match.
Nigeria lost the match. Sports Village Square recalls that in the past two two instances that Nigerian players clocked 100th cap, Super Eagles ended up as the losing side.
First it was at the Round of 16 World Cup 2014 match of Nigeria and France. Despite putting up spirited efforts, Nigeria lost 2-0 even as Skipper Joseph Yobo clocked 100 international games.
That was followed by that of his immediate successor, Vincent Enyeama who even had the benefit of an elaborate preparation for his 100th cap in front of his home fans in his native Akwa Ibom State.
Alas! He had the heavy task of picking the ball from his own net as Nigeria lost 1-0 to visiting Uganda at the sumptuous Uyo stadium.
It may therefore have been a convention that Nigeria loses matches when its player clocks 100th cap. But the 1-0 loss to Central African Republic in Lagos, on what turned to be Ahmed Musa’s 100th cap since his debut against Madagascar on 5 September 2010, has not discredited the Nigerian player who marks his birthday a week later.
He is an African Record holder in goal-scoring at the World Cup. Musa’s feat against Iceland means that he is the first African player to ever score multiple goals in more than one game in consecutive World Cups. Neither Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan (6 goals) nor Cameroon’s legend Roger Milla (5 goals) can boast of that record..
By the virtue of his braces in matches against Argentina (2014) and Iceland (2018), Musa became the first Nigerian player to have scored in, at least, two editions of World Cup. And the first to score multiple goals in more than one game.
He is the second African player to register two goals in two World Cup matches since Cameroon’s Roger Milla in 1990.
Ahmed Musa’s fourth minute goal against Argentina in 2014 was the fastest of the 23 goals Nigeria had scored in 21 World Cup matches from 1994 to 2018.
At the last World Cup, he became the first Leicester City player to score at a FIFA World Cup finals, netting twice in Nigeria’s 2-0 victory over Iceland in Volgograd.
Beyond that, he has scored two braces on two occasions he played against Lionel Messi’s teams – the first being the double strikes against Argentina in Brazil 2014 and the brace for Leicester against Barcelona on August 4, 2016.