By Chibuike Chukwu
Last Friday, Victor Moses, the Super Eagles and Chelsea of England star, became the third Nigerian and 15th African to win the prestigious English Premier League (EPL) following the Blues’ victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Incidentally, unlike some of his predecessors, who played only cameo roles in their emergence as EPL champions, Moses was a key figure under current Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, with whom the former Wigan Athletic man blossomed. Indeed, the 26-year-old’s season has been all the more impressive considering that few gave him a chance of making any kind of impact in the EPL. Their pessimism cannot be faulted given that Moses, since his arrival to Chelsea in the summer of 2012, suffered loan spells, which took him to clubs like Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United.
After returning from yet another loan spell at Wigan last summer, nobody believed that the player, whom other past Chelsea coaches have always declared surplus to requirement, would be an integral part of the all-conquering side this season. But now,not a few commentators have credited Chelsea’s good run to the versatility of Moses as well as the preciseness of N’Golo Kante.
Recall that Chelsea lost their 13-match winning streak following a 0-2 loss to Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane just after Moses was injured in the previous match and could only struggle in the Spurs encounter. That underscored the influence of the former England U20 player, who even admitted surprising himself this season. He attested this thus when speaking to ESPN recently: “When the new manager came in, I just wanted to see how it went. Honestly I just wanted to put in my best and see where it will take me.
“I was somehow skeptical on the possibility (of making the team) but now, it’s a blessing for me that he enjoys the way I play and appreciates the effort I put in. It gives you a lot of confidence when the manager believes in you.”
Before Chelsea’s last match of the season against Sunderland at the Stanford Bridge on Sunday, the Nigerian has already turned Chelsea’s Cinderella with 34 appearances and three goals, not a bad one for a player who was deployed to right back for the first time from his preferred forward line.