Moses Simon: The inside story of Super Eagles forward’s injury and how he was ruled out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Moses Simon

A timeline of Moses Simon's injury in Super Eagles camp which ruled him out of the 2018 World Cup.

The Super Eagles had trained for about two hours at the training pitch of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Thursday, May 24 when Moses Simon pulled out, holding his thigh.

As Simon limped out of training, Ahmed Musa quickly replaced him in the practice match.

It wasn’t a big deal at that time, Simon wasn't particularly bothered and no one thought of it as more than just a knock or a small pain.

The following day, Friday, May 25, Simon still felt pain and was ordered to sit out training.

At a press briefing later that day, Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr revealed that the forward would have a scan in Port Harcourt where the Super Eagles had been scheduled to play a friendly game against DR Congo.

The 22-year-old was not involved in training on Saturday before the Super Eagles made the short trip by road to Port Harcourt.

At this point, Moses still hoped to play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, oftentimes downplaying the injury to coaches and some of his friends in the media.

At the start of the Super Eagles evening training session on Sunday, May 27 at the Shell Ground in Port Harcourt, the Gent forward even attempted to join his teammates for a warm-up run before he was stopped by Super Eagles boss Rohr and ordered to step outside.

Sad and disappointed, the wideman was heard telling one of the Super Eagles backroom staff: “I go fit jog, I can run”.

Super Eagles boss was, however, not having none of it. Rohr was very cautious about the injury and wanted to know the result of the scan before making any decision.

A scan in Port Harcourt revealed a hip injury which ruled him out for four weeks.

Adamant Simon

Simon was however, still adamant in his belief that he will be fit for the World Cup but Rohr had already made his mind up.

Rohr at this pointed wanted the player dropped from the squad but the forward who still had faint hopes of making the World Cup pleaded for more time and a second scan.

Another scan in Abuja on Tuesday, May 29 confirmed the initial prognosis but there was some pressure on Rohr to travel with the player to London where the Super Eagles would play the friendly game against England.


Pressure from an unknown source ensured that Simon joined the Super Eagles on the trip to London where another scan had been arranged.

When the third scan in London showed the same prognosis, Rohr was done with the long drag. He announced his final 23-man squad dropping the wideman with Ola Aina and Mikel Agu.

It was a huge blow to the 22-year-old who tried everything he could to be fit for Russia.

"I will like to thank all my fans for the love, support and prayers during this trying time, you all are amazing people it’s just a pity that I couldn’t make it to #Russia but man proposes but God disposes," the diminutive forward wrote on Instagram when his exclusion from the Super Eagles squad to the World Cup was confirmed.

"I will definitely be back soon stronger and better "


Simon was a crucial player in the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, playing in all but two games.

The part he played in the qualifiers stretches back to the second preliminary round game where he scored in the 2-0 win over Swaziland in November 2015.

He also netted once in the main qualifiers, scoring in Nigeria’s 1-1 away draw against Cameroon in September 2017.

His injury made way for Crotone striker Simeon Nwankwo who just had his first Super Eagles call-up, to make the final 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.






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