• If we win the title, I am going to dedicate it to the late Stephen Keshi because he was like a father to me - Musa
• The charismatic Keshi led a squad built on belief to clinch the crown with an inspired 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in a tough final, earning them their third continental title.
Ahmed Musa is one of the three players in the current Nigerian team competing at the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019 that were in the last Super Eagles squad to clinch the title under the late Stephen Keshi in South Africa in 2013.
Just over three weeks after the Nigerian people commemorated three years of Keshi’s passing on, Musa who was one of the players who played a pivotal role in the 2013 conquest says he is driven by his memory to try and win this year’s crown.
“It was such a happy occasion when we won in 2013 and we said as a team then that there is no bigger honour than winning something for your country. Now, it is the same for us this year after missing out over the last two editions,” Musa told CAFOnline.com.
“If we win the title, I am going to dedicate it to the late Stephen Keshi because he was like a father to me. It’s not that easy losing someone so special to you and the memories I have left of him are like a motivator.”
The charismatic Keshi led a squad built on belief to clinch the crown with an inspired 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in a tough final, earning them their third continental title. The tactician, fondly referred to as ‘The big boss’ unfortunately suddenly passed away on June 7 2016.
Under his belt, apart from clinching the AFCON title with Nigeria in 2013 helped them to reach the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Keshi also led Togo to their first World Cup in 2006.
“There are so many lessons I draw from him as a person and as a coach and that is what always keeps me going. We really miss him as players and as a country and we always pray for him. It would be an honor for us if we won this for him,” added Musa.
The other two players who were in Keshi’s 2013 squad include captain John Obi Mikel and defender Kenneth Omeruo who scored the goal that earned the Super Eagles a last 16 berth in this year’s tournament. Musa believes that with hard work and self belief, Nigeria can fight for the title though he reckons it will not be easy.
“We don’t fear anyone. For us is just to take a game at a time, focus as a team and give our best. There is no easy team at this AFCON and we know if we are to win, it will come as a result of very hard work,” Musa noted.
Nigeria eliminated perennial rivals and defending champions Cameroon in the Round of 16 on Saturday in Alexandria, winning by a 3-2 margin.