Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses was a surprise absentee from the Nigeria squad that was announced yesterday for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa. Turns out there’s a very good reason for that.
Chris Green, an executive at the Nigerian Football Federation revealed that the absence is due to a scheduled surgery (!) on Moses’s toe.
"He has been carrying a toe injury for a while and has surgery scheduled for it. The coach has known about it for a while and so have we. We decided it was best to let him have his surgery now so he can be ready for the new season."
-Chris Green; source: KweséESPN
Wait, for a while? (It’s not clear whether “coach” refers to Conte or Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr; presumably Chelsea know what’s up.)
So, it would appear that Moses has been carrying a toe injury for over two months now, since Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Stoke City in mid-March. He was a doubt for that match already (with either a different injury or a misdiagnosed one) but then he missed Nigeria’s match during the subsequent international break, and then he missed both the Crystal Palace loss and the Manchester City win at the start of April. He eventually made his return at Bournemouth on April 8, but never quite “seemed” himself these last couple months and this injury certainly could go some ways towards explaining that. (It won’t excuse his dive against Arsenal in the FA Cup final, but let’s move on.)
Here’s hoping everything goes well with the surgery and Moses is back to his best by the start of next season. We’re going to need him.