Is God Nigerian or Argentinian? We’ll Soon Find Out On Tuesday
In Nigeria, there are words like God of soccer. Come Tuesday we will know, if the God of football is Nigerian. For Ahmed Musa, things seem to come in twos. At the World Cup in Brazil four years ago he struck twice against Argentina. On Friday he scored two goals against Iceland in Volgograd.
The only other African footballer to have scored twice in two separate World Cup matches was Cameroon’s then 38-year-old Roger Milla, both at Italia 90. Milla’s tale of returning from self-imposed exile on Reunion Island to answer a call-up demanded by his national president, Paul Biya, rather outdoes Musa’s night with the kids at Boundary Park.
Musa’s exile was rather less voluntary – and before turning his thoughts to another World Cup date with Argentina, he first tackled that old chestnut about how a player who disappoints in a domestic league can look a world-beater in the global spotlight.
Musa spent the second half of 2017/18 on loan back at CSKA Moscow, his previous club, and pointedly thanked them for their support. “They’ve given me the confidence when I came back and made me believe I can do it because it’s not that easy staying on the bench without playing for seven months,” he said.
With that confidence he scored a terrific opening goal, lashed in on the half-volley, before a cool rounding of the goalkeeper for his second. In the process he breathed life into a Super Eagles side second-best in their opening game against Croatia but now second in Group D, two points above both Iceland and Argentina.
Nigeria lost all three of their previous World Cup meetings with Argentina – including a 3-2 defeat in 2014 – but did come from two goals down to beat a Lionel Messi-less Albiceleste side 4-2 in a friendly in Krasnodar last November.
The question now is can the Super Eagles of Nigeria stop the albiceleste of Argentina?