Muhammed may have missed the bus but he and Nigeria hit their goal

Only a player like Musa Muhammed, the Nigeria captain and leader and full-back and free-kick specialist, could curl a beautiful, right-footed free-kick into the top corner of the Mexico goal during the Under 17 World Cup final, writes Gary Meenaghan.
Osvaldo Rodriguez, right, and his Mexico teammates could not run away from Man of the Match Musa Muhammed, left, and Nigeria. Marwan Naamani / AFP
Osvaldo Rodriguez, right, and his Mexico teammates could not run away from Man of the Match Musa Muhammed, left, and Nigeria. Marwan Naamani / AFP

ABU DHABI // Only a squad as rich in talent as Nigeria’s Fifa Under 17 World Cup winners could board their team bus and depart without realising they had left Musa Muhammed, their captain and leader and full-back and free-kick specialist, behind, talking with a reporter.

Muhammed, with a grin as wide as a the goalposts he takes such joy in sending the ball between, curled a beautiful, right-footed free-kick into the top corner of the Mexico goal during last night’s final.

The 81st-minute strike added a gloss that the team deserved.

They were comfortable and dominant and looked in total control – until the whistle blew and, following chaotic celebrations, the latest of Nigeria’s age-group champions hopped aboard their bus but forgot their captain was speaking to media.

“It was a very nice goal I scored,” Muhammed said as the Nigeria team bus pulled away from the car park. “I aimed for the target and put it into the net, so I am happy. I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy.”

In a comic scene that did little to remove the grin from Muhammed’s face, he was forced to chase his bus to no avail. A hire car eventually arrived to reunite him and the rest of the side. But not before he discussed why his team succeeded.

“From the beginning, this is what we planned,” he said. “Even during the African qualifiers, we were thinking about coming here and winning. We arrived very organised, more than a lot of teams, and that is why we are winners here. I am so happy for my family and all Nigerians because we won the cup for them.”

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: November 9, 2013 04:00 AM

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