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Ahmed Musa draws praises for NPFL second coming, sparkling start

Last Sunday, Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa made a return to the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, amid commendations from football stakeholders in the country.…

Last Sunday, Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa made a return to the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, amid commendations from football stakeholders in the country.

The former CSKA Moscow and Leicester City striker was in the thick of things as Kano Pillars left it late to defeat Adamawa United 1-0 at the Ahmadu Bello stadium in Kaduna.

It is a known fact that after he left his last club, Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, in October 2020, Musa stayed without competitive football for over six months.

Consequently, there were hues and cries when the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr decided to include the then match rusty captain in the team for the double AFCON qualifiers against Benin Republic and Rwanda in the month of March.

Despite the condemnation that trailed his invitation, Musa’s first competitive match since leaving Al Nassr was when he came on as a substitute against the Squirrels of Benin Republic in the 2021 AFCON qualifier in Port-Novo on March 27.

Two days after, he would come on again in the 86th minute in the final qualifying match against the Crocodiles of Lesotho on March 30 at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos.

As tongues continued to wag over the continued inclusion of the then ‘clubless’ Ahmed Musa in the Super Eagles, the player announced that he has agreed a short-term loan deal with his former club, Kano Pillars.

Even as he made it abundantly clear that he would leave Kano Pillars at the end of the season, that didn’t douse the excitement that followed the announcement that he would be donning the colours of the ‘Masu gida’ boys in the remaining matches of the 2021 NPFL season.

His bold move elicited commendations from some of his supporters who saluted his courage and called on other foreign based players to emulate him.

Senator Shehu Sani was among the first to praise Musa as he said his decision to return to the NPFL would help improve the domestic league.

“Ahmed Musa’s return to Kano Pillars is one of the best strategies to improve and attract interest in our local football teams and national league,” Sani tweeted.

“After global come local. It’s better than hanging and idling in Europe. There will always be a place for you at home.”

Resultantly, his second coming remained a topical issue as the 20 clubs continued with their preparations for the second stanza of the league.

It is also an open secret that Musa’s decision to play in the NPFL is to enable him maintain physical fitness ahead of the new season in Europe.

However, the player is not only keeping fit but eager to help Kano Pillars win the ongoing NPFL season.

Immediately after he signed for the club, he made known his ambition to win his first NPFL title with Kano Pillars.

Ahmed Musa first played for Pillars from 2009 to 2012, scoring 18 goals in 25 appearances. He later moved to Europe where he played for VVV-Venlo in Holland, CSKA Moscow before moving to Leicester City in England where he scored two goals in 21 appearances.

Undoubtedly, Musa is back to continue from where he stopped in 2012. And as stated earlier, his first match in his second coming was against Adamawa United.

Handed the captain’s armband by the substantive captain of Pillars, Rabiu Ali, a few seconds to kick off, Musa didn’t just stroll around the pitch. He exhibited high level commitment and determination to ensure that Pillars pick the maximum points.

He wasn’t deterred by dangerous tackles, most of which went unpunished. Even as Pillars failed to break down the whipping boys in the first half of the match, Musa continued to motivate his team mates.

Eventually, the deadlock was broken in the 80th minute when he set up Rabiu Ali with an exquisite through pass which the latter finished with a deadly left-foot for the only goal of the match.

The slim victory over Adamawa United has kept Pillars in second position on the table. In addition, based on their current standing in the log, the ‘Masu gida’ have every reason to continue to hope for a fifth NPFL title.

The next hurdle before Kano Pillars is a trip to neighbouring Katsina State where they are going to face arch-rivals, Katsina United in week 22.

It is an open secret that any match between the two rivals usually produces tension and fireworks on and off the pitch.

And in view of the fact that both teams have so much to play for in the week 22 fixture, nothing short of fireworks should be expected on Sunday.

Barring last minute changes, the encounter with Katsina United will be Musa’s second match for Kano Pillars and the fleet-footed attacking winger is expecting good tidings.

“Definitely, we are second on the league table. What is separating us from the first team is goal difference. There are so many matches left to play so we want to see what we can do.

“This weekend, we are heading to Katsina to play Katsina United. From our training this morning, I can say the boys are in high spirits. We are ready for Katsina United,” said Musa.

However, as much as Musa has clearly stated his ambition which is to win the NPFL title, he has not hidden his plan to leave Pillars at any moment.

During the last transfer window in Europe, his move to West Brom in the premiership fell through but he has not dropped his ambition to return to Europe.

He said “It is a matter of time. Maybe in the next one month, I may not be in Nigeria again. Right now, I am happy coming back home to play

“For now, I don’t have any concrete information but by next month, you will know.”

Like he rightly pointed out, for now he is a Kano Pillars player and the supporters are still rooting for him as he continues to propel the ‘Masu gida’ boys.

The chairman of Pillars supporters club, Alhaji Bashir Idris Jide while presenting the award of Excellence to the Super Eagles captain said they were happy that he chose to come back and re-unite with them.

He was commended for honouring the club, the government and good people of kano and the NPFL. “We don’t have enough words to express our happiness seeing Ahmed Musa wearing Kano Pillars jersey and playing for the club again after 10 years.

“Considering your position in Nigerian football, we are indeed happy to have you and we can’t thank you enough for this honour,” he said.

In the same vein, the chairman Kaduna State chapter of the supporters club, Muhammad Murtala presented to Musa replica jerseys of Kano Pillars and appreciated him for accepting to come back to his ‘constituency’.

Such show of love by the Kano Pillars family has not gone unnoticed as Musa has promised unalloyed loyalty to the club.

“I can choose another club only if Kano Pillars are not playing in the Nigeria Professional Football League. As long as Pillars are in the league, I will never choose another club,” he said.

Therefore, all eyes will once again be on the Super Eagles captain when Kano Pillars visit Katsina United on Sunday in search of the maximum points.

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