By GBOLAHAN DADA and JOE APU
The joy of having a newborn baby is still illuminating the heart of Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Moses, and he has vowed to score for his baby, Brently, in today’s duel against Zambia in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The Chelsea forward, who may likely make his Nations Cup debut against defending champions, Zambia, is bubbling with life, as he is fully fit to make good impression in the Group C’s make or mar encounter.
The 21-year-old, who took to social media to announce the birth of his new son, said he’s really proud to be a dad and needed to score because the development inspires him a great deal. In an exclusive chat with TS Weekend from South Africa, Moses emphatically revealed his desire to see Nigeria win the elusive Cup of Nations. Having missed the first match against Burkina Faso, Moses says he owes it a duty to score for his baby and Nigeria to help the team move into the quarterfinal stage.
“I’m happy to be back in action for the team and playing my first Nations Cup would be a wonderful experience. I want to make it one that would be memorable for Nigerians,” Moses began. “I look forward to scoring for my baby, Brently, because I miss him. But this is a national duty and I’m here to do my best. I know that Nigerians are eager to see us perform excellently in this Nations Cup.”
Moses, who has represented England at Under-16, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels, but opted to play for Nigeria as opposed to being fully capped for England, stated that he’s proud to be a Nigerian and he would do everything in his capacity to do the nation proud. “I’ve no regret for picking Nigeria ahead of England. This is my country. I love everything about Nigeria and I’ll play with all my heart to justify my inclusion in the team. “We’ve quality players in the national team.
We just need to work as a team to make a difference. It’s not over for Eagles because we still have hope and our forging ahead would be determined after (today’s) match against Zambia,” he said. Moses urged Nigerians not to withdraw their support for the Super Eagles, as they are ready to go all the way. “It’s unfortunate that after we lost Efe Ambrose to red card (in the Nations Cup opener against Burkina Faso on Monday), we lost concentration in the dying seconds of the game.
We didn’t deserve to lose that game, but such things happen in football. “We’ve learnt our lessons and are set to go all out in (today’s) encounter and thereafter, the one against Ethiopia. We can’t afford to underrate any team at this stage because none is a pushover,” he said. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Moses moved to England at the age of 11.
He attended Stanley Technical High School, (now Harris Academy) in South Norwood during which time he was spotted playing football in the local Tandridge League, where scouts from Crystal Palace approached him, with the club’s Selhurst Park Stadium just streets away from his school. The scouts were so impressed that he was offered a place in the Eagles’ academy, which he accepted. Shortly after Moses joined the academy, Palace recommended him to fee-paying Whitgift School in Croydon, where former Arsenal and Chelsea star, Colin Pates had been coaching the school’s football team. The hope was that the high quality coaching and facilities at Whitgift would further improve his development as a player.
Moses first came to prominence at 14 after scoring 50 goals for Palace’s Under-14 side, where he played alongside Joe Szekeres for three years, scoring over 100 goals between them, as well as helping Whitgift to win many School Cups, including a National Cup with Moses scoring all the five goals in the final against Healing School of Grimsby at the Walkers Stadium, Leicester. He made his debut in the Championship on November 6, 2007, away from home against Cardiff. In the Palace’s first team, Moses settled down well. He scored three times in his first season. In the close of the season, he committed his future to Palace and signed a four-year contract that would take him through till 2012. But the following season failed to ever really get going for him and despite a sustained period of starting matches, Moses only managed to score twice.
On August 23, 2012, Wigan Athletic accepted a fifth bid from Chelsea, after the London club finally met Wigan’s asking price having had four previously unsuccessful bids. The player was given permission to speak with Chelsea and on August 24, 2012, Chelsea announced that the transfer of Moses had been completed. Moses played his first game for Chelsea against Queens Park Rangers, coming in as a substitute. He made his full debut for the club when he started the League Cup game against Wolves and scored his first goal after 71 minute. The game finished 6–0 to the Blues’ advantage. Moses started his first Champions League game against Nordsjælland.
On October 31, 2012, he was named Man of the Match after the encounter against Manchester United in the League Cup, a game Chelsea won 5–4. On November 3, 2012, Moses scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea against Swansea City. The match ended in a 1–1 draw. Four days later, he scored his first Champions League goal for Chelsea against Shakhtar Donetsk. He replaced Oscar in the 93rd minute and headed in Juan Mata’s corner with seconds left to secure a 3–2 win. On January 5, 2013, Moses opened his scoring tally for the year with a powerful drive into the bottom corner while playing in the FA Cup third round against Southampton, a game Chelsea came from 1–0 behind to win 5–1.
Despite originally hailing from Nigeria, the player initially chose to represent his adopted home, England, featuring for the Under-16 team in which he won the Victory Shield in 2005 and at the Under-17 level. He travelled with the squad to the 2007 UEFA Under-17 Championship in Belgium and scored three times (including the only goal in the semi-final win over France) to help John Peacock’s side to the competition final, where they were narrowly beaten by Spain with a single goal.
However, Moses finished as the competition’s top scorer, a feat that earned him the Golden Boot of the tournament. That same summer, the squad travelled to South Korea for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Moses finished as the Young Lions’ top scorer, netting three times in the Group B fixtures, but sustained an injury in the victory over Brazil, which ruled him out of the competition. His teammates, however, went on to reach the quarterfinal stage.
After that tournament, Moses was promoted to the English Under-18 squad and following his goal scoring exploits for Palace’s first team, he was promoted to the Under-19 side without appearing sufficiently for the Under-18s to actually collect a cap. He went with the Under-19s to the 2008 UEFA Under-19 Championship in the Czech Republic. He played two matches and picked up one assist as the Young Lions failed to make it out of Group B. Speculation grew as Stuart Pearce snubbed him when it was rumored that Moses would return to play for Nigeria in the 2010 World Cup, but that move never materialised.
The young player was promoted to the Under-21 squad at the beginning of the 2010/11 Premier League season. He made his debut against Uzbekistan in a 2–0 win. He was selected to play for Nigeria against Guatemala in February 2011, but the friendly was cancelled. He accepted a call-up in March 2011 for Nigeria’s games against Ethiopia, but he was ruled out of the game because his application to FIFA to switch nationalities was not received in time. It was announced on November 1, 2011 that FIFA had cleared Moses and