Since the British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) announced its nominees for the African footballer of the year award last week, support has been growing for Nigeria’s Victor Moses to emerge winner.
Although, the nominees list also include Naby Keita, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Moses’ profile as stated on BBC’s website shows he has what it takes to win.
When Victor Moses looks back on his career, the Nigeria and Chelsea midfielder is more than likely to see the 2016-17 season as a major turning point.
After years of loan moves, the 26-year-old finally cemented his role at Stamford Bridge – so much so that he became an integral member of their Premier League-winning team.
The date Moses might look back on is 1 October when Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, following comprehensive defeats by Arsenal and Liverpool, switched to a 3-4-3 system and fielded Moses in an unfamiliar right wing-back role at Hull City.
It was his first league start for the Blues in over three years but Moses was far from overawed – producing a man-of-the-match display with his natural attacking instincts and desire to track back.
The Hull victory was the start of a record-equalling 13 consecutive Premier League wins for Chelsea and 22 consecutive league starts for Moses, until he briefly succumbed to injury in April.
The previous month, the onetime drifter had anchored himself to the Blues by signing a new contract – completing his remarkable turn of fortune at a club he joined in 2012.
While this was largely down to Conte giving Moses a new lease of life by seeing something in pre-season that others never had, the 26-year-old still had to take his chance and – in one of the season’s least expected narratives – he fully did so via stamina, strength and speed.
As well as winning the Premier League, Moses also received an FA Cup runners-up medal after Chelsea lost to Arsenal in a final where the Nigerian tinged his successful campaign with a red card.
Moses played only three internationals this year, but in his first he scored in a sensational 4-0 destruction of Cameroon that knocked the African champions out of qualifying and smoothed Nigeria’s eventual passage to a third straight World Cup.
Now Moses could become the first Nigerian since Jay-Jay Okocha in 2004 to win the BBC award.