Several players have excelled for Nigeria at the 33rd edition of the continental championship, but none has been as outstanding as Nantes livewire forward
Nantes ace Moses Simon has been by a country mile the most outstanding footballer in the Super Eagles squad if comments from fans on social media are anything to go by.
Simon has been a breath of fresh air for a team not given much of a chance to excel at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after missing the quality of qualifying top scorer Victor Osimhen, last tournament’s top scorer Odion Ighalo and the Belgian league top scorer Paul Onuachu.
Aside from his exciting plays on the flanks, the 26-year-old has contributed significantly to four of the six goals the Eagles have struck in Cameroon.
Simon’s cross led to Nigeria’s winner against Egypt. He assisted Samuel Chukwueze’s opener versus Sudan before scoring a sublime third in the 3-1 defeat of the Falcons of Jediane.
And Simon created Nigeria’s crucial second goal in the 2-0 humbling of Guinea-Bissau, with his snap shot following a Messi-like mazy run ricocheting off the crossbar and allowing William Troost-Ekong to tap home from close range.
In addition to his assist, Simon, who spent only 33 minutes on the pitch, was again on overdrive, completing seven dribbles and winning seven duels.
CAF named Troost-Ekong as the game’s man of the match, but Simon ended with the highest rating of any player on both sides, as per Whoscored.
And many fans, who took to Twitter to express their thoughts, believe the Nantes star has already played himself into the team of the tournament.
“Moses Simon is in the team of the tournament already after 3 matches”
Moses Simon is in the team of the tournament already after 3 matches— IG »»» officialzeez (@iamzeezaga) January 19, 2022
Simon has been pulling off Austin Okocha-like dribbles in Cameroon, making himself a nightmare for defenders of Egypt, Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau.
It is what he has been doing all season for Nantes in France, but fans particularly like the stunts he created against the Wild Dog.
Moses simon have okocha vibes, comrade wey sabi. pic.twitter.com/pLtxLKwTfw— Obi Cubana (@ObiCubanason) January 19, 2022
If that shot had gone in for Moses Simon that goal would have won best goal of the tournament— Otaru Micheal (@OtaruMicheal) January 19, 2022
Moses Simon deserved that goal !!!— KB (@koredebello) January 19, 2022
Moses Simon almost with the goal of the tournament pic.twitter.com/YDec40coBw— Betweysure ( Free Betting tips Platform ) (@Betweysure) January 19, 2022
Simon has been at Nantes for a while now, becoming arguably the Yellow Canaries’ best performer.
Some fans are rooting for him to move to the Premier League as they are convinced his skill-sets make him the ideal player to shine in the world’s most glamorous league.
We need Moses Simon in Chelsea ASAP— Jay (@Jayslym007) January 19, 2022
Would like to see Moses Simon in the Premier League next season. If Emmanuel Dennis is killing it, he's capable of doing even better. #AFCON2021— Vince™ (@Blue_Footy) January 19, 2022
Moses Simon >>> Hudson Odoi.— IRREPLACEABLE (@Laxix6) January 19, 2022
And certain fans cannot have enough of the winger’s dripping magic.
Guinea Bissau said they would rather die than lose to Nigeria.— Chairmo of The Lion Kingdom (@TundeEddnut) January 19, 2022
Moses Simon took it personal. Man destroyed the careers of family men.
The dancing shoes from Moses Simon here… What a tournament he’s having.#TeamNigeria have also now scored six goals in an AFCON group stages for the first time since back in 2004. pic.twitter.com/DhV4XRfoBF— Joe Crann (@YesWeCrann) January 19, 2022
After winning all three group games – for only the second time in history – Nigeria made it to the Round of 16 as one of the favourites tipped to go all the way. Simon’s top form could be vital to the Super Eagles title hopes.