Kwara United goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba believes the experience of Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, will come in handy for Nigeria’s quest to win a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Ivory Coast, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
The 2023 tournament will hold from January 13 to February 11 as Nigeria face Equatorial Guinea in the opening game.
Ahead of the release of the Eagles’ provisional list for the tournament, Aiyenugba believes Musa, who was part of the squad that won the third title for Nigeria in South Africa 2013, has the tendency to inspire the squad to a fourth title 10 years after.
Musa has been excluded from the national team’s recent games since September, missing five games in the process and suggesting that his days in the national team might be numbered.
Aiyenugba, 40, is a two-time bronze medallist at the AFCON in 2006 and 2010 and believes the Eagles need his experience.
“When I joined the national team, our legend Nwankwo Kanu was not playing. He was usually subbed on but was always there as the captain. We still need Ahmed Musa on the team. It doesn’t matter if he holds a starting position or not. A leader in the team has much to offer on and off the pitch,” Aiyenugba told our correspondent.
“This is the AFCON, and you need the right mentality. So, when you have players like Musa who even started from Nigeria, he will be able to understand everyone’s differences and carry the entire team especially when you are having a blend of home-based and foreign-based players.”
Having missed out on the last five national team assignments, Musa scored for his Turkish club Sivasspor in their Turkish Cup 2-1 victory against Arnavutkoy last weekend which was his first goal since February 2022.
The 31-year-old who scored one goal in 2013 en route to Nigeria’s triumph is the most capped Super Eagles player with 108 appearances.