The Nigerian international has endured mixed fortunes over the past couple of weeks for the country, but it is time to get back to club duties
Nantes manager Antoine Kombouaré has revealed having a chat with Moses Simon following his exertions for Nigeria at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The club boss confirmed that he gave the forward permission to return to France on Friday to have enough time to heal from the hurt of the past few days.
Statistically, Simon was Nigeria’s best player at the Afcon before the Super Eagles were knocked out of the tournament.
According to Whoscored, the 26-year-old had the highest rating of Nigeria’s 27 footballers (7.60), made more dribbles per match, and contributed a goal and assist to the Eagles’ cause.
Even CAF recognised Simon’s brilliant performances earlier in the competition. The continent’s number one football body included the Nantes star in the finest eleven of the group stage ahead of Senegal and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.
#AFCON2021 Group Stage's BEST:— CAF (@CAF_Online) January 22, 2022
✖️1⃣ #TeamEquatorialGuinea#TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 pic.twitter.com/oSrAfcSjLn
And Simon was a strong contender for the Player of the Tournament award had Nigeria gone all the way to lift the Nations Cup.
But the Super Eagles suffered a disappointing defeat to Tunisia on Sunday to exit Afcon 2021 at the first knockout round, leaving players and fans hurt and saddened.
The team arrived in Nigeria the following day, where they were received by the Sports Minister Mr Sunday Dare and from where they are expected to disperse to their various European and South African clubs.
But French manager Kombouaré has confirmed that Simon is yet to return to Nantes as he has given the winger more time to recover from the disappointment of the Afcon.
“Regarding Moses Simon, I was able to have him on the phone yesterday,” Kombouaré told the club’s official website on Wednesday.
“He is obviously disappointed with this elimination from the AFCON but also happy to come back with us. I permitted him to come back here Friday morning.”
Before Simon left France to join the Super Eagles for the Afcon, he was one of Nantes star performers, notching two goals and six assists in 18 league appearances.
In his absence, Nantes have fared reasonably well, claiming a win, a draw, and a loss in three Ligue 1 games.