October, 3 2023.
_As José Peseiro Blanks Out Musa & Ekong In Upcoming Friendlies_
As eye-brows are being raised following the conspicuous non-inclusion of Ahmed Musa and William Troost-Ekong in Jose Peseiro list of 24 Super Eagles players, either Kenneth Omeruo or Wilfred Ndidi could have the captain's armband, in the two upcoming international friendlies, against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique.
Musa is still the captain of the team, while Troost-Ekong is his Assistant, and the defacto captain in recent times; especially as Musa has been restricted to playing fringe roles, following the advent of younger and more enterprising wingers in the team.
Both players were in the squads for their respective sides, over the weekend; meaning their is no case of them being left out of the Super Eagles squad, because of injuries.
Troost-Ekong, a central defender plays for PAOK Theselonaki, in the Greek Super League; while Musa plys his trade in the Turkish Super Lig with Sivasspor FC; www.ckdmedia.ng reports.
While releasing the list of players over the weekend, neither Coach Peseiro, nor the NFF technical department gave an explanation to the strange exclusion of the two key men, and natural leaders of the team; which is gradually regaining its confidence, after a tournament to forget in the 2021 Afcon in Cameroun and failure to qualify for the World Cup, in Qatar.
This has caused tongues to wag, and questions asked. "Has the NFF and Peseiro decided that the time of both players, with the senior national team, are up"?
Troost-Ekong is 30 years and did also not play for the Super Eagles on September 10th, when Nigeria played Sao Tome and Principe in the Eagles final 2023 Afcon qualifier, played in Uyo. He played all 90 minutes as PAOK drew 2-2 with Panathinaikos on October 1, but had one of the lowest rating in that game (3.7).
Likewise, Musa whose illustrious career has seen him play in all age-group teams, before playing for the Super Eagles; is 30 years. He was an unused substitute for Sivasspor in their goalless draw with Hatayspor, on September 30.
Musa was also a notable absentee in the game against Sao Tome and Principe. Even before then, there has been calls, for him as Nigeria's most capped international (108), to quit the national side when the ovation is loudest.
The media has since lost the opportunity of having to make Head Coaches of the Super Eagles, justify their picks for games, be they friendly or competitive matches; as was the case, until the reign of Gernot Rohr, which coincided with the turbulent reign of Amaju Pinnick as President of the NFF.
So as stands; the media, pundits, supporters of the three-time African Champions, and indeed all football loving Nigerians are at a loss, as to how both the substantive captain and his assistant can be left-out in the cold, in one Swoop, without an explanation or even an attempt to rashionalize the anomaly.