Most club managers see FIFA-declared international breaks as a rash on the back – it is there but should largely be ignored. This is the reason for the club versus country saga.
Twenty years ago, it was not a challenge because players wanted to play for their countries so much it was considered the highest honour available . But the very lucrative leagues and especially the UEFA Champions League has changed this narrative.
One of the most stated reasons for players missing international break has been injuries.
Nigeria had a crucial match to play early in October and two players pencilled down for the encounter by new Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr, were Victor Moses and Isaac Success. But the duo ‘conveniently’ got injured: Moses with a hamstring and Success with a thigh strain.
But the two players were ‘healed’ during the break and played for their respective teams in the English Premier League on match day 8. Moses even went further and scored his side’s first goal, while lasting for 80 minutes; Success also made the starting lineup for Watford and won the man of the match award.
The thought that quickly sprung to the mind of many Nigeria football fans was that these two players had conveniently dodged the away game against Zambia, which fortunately the Eagles won 2-1.
Like the Nigerians, Joe Allen, the former Liverpool midfielder, pulled out of Wales’ World Cup qualifier last Monday but was able to score two goals for Stoke City on Saturday.
So, herein is the denominator – why should it considered that the Nigerians lied while the Welsh player was sincere?
On October 1, Moses wrote, “Unfortunately I’m feeling my hamstring and so the club medical team will be reviewing me. Will be working hard to get fit asap #CFC”, on his Twitter handle, while Success posted a picture on Twitter that showed he was ‘actually’ injured. Suspicious activity, you would argue considering the fact that this is not the first time that Moses has been conveniently injured and had to be excused from national assignment.
Since the former Wigan player made his international debut in 2012 against Rwanda, the Chelsea winger has only played 24 games for the country and that includes the 2013 Nations Cup and the 2014 World Cup tournaments.
Meanwhile Emmanuel Emenike, who made his debut for Nigeria in 2011 and is currently retired from international football, played 37 times for his country in four years – the same number of years that Moses has spent with the Super Eagles. In all of this, readers can come to their own conclusions.