Victor Moses is a footballer who has risen from the depths of personal tragedy to have an incredible career. At the age of just 11, both of his parents were killed in religious riots in Kaduna. His extended family raised the money required to send him to England, where he claimed asylum and found a new home in South London.
Such tragedy would usually have a detrimental effect on someone, but Moses instead used his torment to spur him on to greatness. This article is a look back at some of the highlights of an inspirational Nigerian footballer.
The Eagle rises
After finding a foster home in South Norwood, London, Moses started to play football in his local Tandridge League and it wasn’t long before the super Eagle attracted the interest of the Eagles. Crystal Palace offered Moses a place in their academy and paid for him to continue his education at the prestigious Whitgift School in Croydon.
After impressing on the field and in the classroom, Moses was given his chance in the first team at the age of 16. He made his debut against Cardiff City in November 2007 and scored his first goal for the Eagles in March of the same season.
At the end of that season, Crystal Palace narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League, but Palace manager Neil Warnock was impressed with the contribution of the Nigerian youngster Moses and said he had the potential to go all the way to the top.
Moses’ performances continued to improve over the next few years, but unfortunately Palace’s finances didn’t. As they were placed into administration, Moses was sold to Premier League side Wigan for £2.5 million in January 2010. It was bittersweet for Moses, leaving the club that had given him his big break, but it also gave him his first real crack at the Premier League.
The European Champions come calling
After impressing for the Latics in the Premier League, Victor Moses was snapped up by European Champions Chelsea in what was seen as a shock move. Upon reflection, 2012 was perhaps too early for Moses to move to a side of the calibre of Chelsea.
He struggled to make an impression with the Stamford Bridge outfit and was subsequently loaned out to Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham. However, Moses wasn’t perturbed by that and returned to Chelsea in 2016 with an iron resolve to prove his worth to new Blues manager Antonio Conte.
This was undoubtedly Moses’ highest point in his career. With Conte reverting to a 3-4-3 formation, the Nigerian winger slotted in at right wing-back and became a vital component in the title winning team. Goals against Leicester City and the winner against rivals Spurs were just some of the highlights in Moses’ glittering season.
This season, it has been all change at the Bridge and new manager Maurizio Sarri has overlooked Victor Moses, with a change in system not helping the Nigerian star’s cause. If you want to bet on Chelsea, they are 10/1 outsiders to win the league under Sarri’s management and if they are to achieve the unlikely, they’ll need Moses, among others, weigh in with a few big performances.
Nigeria come oh so close
In the run-up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Victor Moses was seen as one of the biggest hopes for the national team. He assumed a role of an experienced pro and looked to carry the weight of expectation on his shoulders.
In a pre-tournament friendly against England at Wembley, his direct running and combative style impressed. Then in the final game of the group stages he looked to have written his name into Nigerian footballing history, scoring the equalising goal against Argentina in the final group game.
Had the Super Eagles held on to that result, they would have reached the knock-out stages of the tournament, but they were denied by a last-gasp Argentinian winner. That result marked the end for Moses, who hung up his international boots in mid-August to focus on his club career.
More to come?
There certainly feels like there is more to come in Moses’ football career, certainly at international level. Despite retiring from international action, 27 seems far too young to give up representing your country.
The Qatar World Cup would provide Moses with the perfect platform to say goodbye. Until then, there is plenty more history to be written by this determined, talented individual.