After injury shattered his dream of being part of Super Eagles’ party to the World Cup in Russia, Moses Simon seems to have picked up the pieces as he dumped FC Gent of Belgium for Levante UD
Moses Simon moved to Levante UD for about five million Euros, which is a figure far from the 20 million Euros a top official had predicted KAA Gent will eventually sell him.
Gent sports director, Michel Louwagie, proudly predicted that his club with break transfer records when they eventually sell the Nigerian winger after they bought him from Slovak club AS Trencin for 650,000 Euros in January 2015.
“The transfer record in Belgium will have to be shattered when we sell Moses. We will be talking of about 20 million Euros,” Louwagie predicted. The prediction was prompted by the fact that Moses was an instant sensation in Belgium.
But the player will go on to suffer injuries and lack of consistency for such huge hope not to be fulfilled in the three and a half seasons he was there.
Altogether, he scored 21 goals and provided 18 assists in 136 appearances for ‘The Buffaloes’.
He has now been handed a five-year deal by Levante to finally live up to his potentials in Spain.
Levante were locked with French Ligue 1 Saint Etienne in the chase for the KAA Gent winger, who missed the recent World Cup in Russia no thanks to a thigh injury.
He was also linked with clubs in England and Germany.
Gent have already signed a direct replacement for the fast wide man, who has made it very clear that he wishes to move on.
He won the Belgian league with Gent in his first season after his transfer from Slovak club AS Trencin.
Meanwhile, KAA Gent, have paid glowing tributes to Simon after the player secured a move toSpanish club, Levante on Monday.
“Moses Simon leaves KAA Gent after 3/12 seasons to try his luck in the Spanish League. He signs a contract for 5 seasons with Levante UD,” reads a statement on Gent official website.
“Moses Simon transferred from Slovakian AS Trencin to KAA Gent in January 2015 and played 136 matches for Gent in which he scored 21 goals and gave 18 assists.
“He leaves the club with his head up and will forever belong to the select group of players who won the first league title in the history for our club and then became part of a historic Champions League campaign stamped in the collective Belgian football memory. The following season, he was also a member of the group of players that beat Tottenham at Wembley in the Europa League.
“Immediately after his transfer, he was the only player who spoke openly about obtaining the title “with the help of God”. It turned out to be prophetic words.
“Moses started as a whirlwind in the Belgian league and played regularly for KAA Gent from January 2015 until the start of the playoffs in the same season in the race for the championship.
“During his time at the Buffalo’s, he was feared for his vicious dribbles, his incredible speed and his hard shot and loved because of his cheerful personality and his generous smile. He was often the creator of important goals, like last season when he scored the only goal in the penultimate match of the playoffs in the 1-0 victory against Anderlecht.
“KAA Gent congratulates Moses on Levante and thanks him for the beautiful and successful years that he experienced here in Ghent. Once a Buffalo, always a Buffalo!
When Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr rolled out his 30-man provisional list for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with Simon included, the player believed he was just inches away from achieving his long-time dream of playing in the World Cup. But it was not to be as injury has ruined his dream.
Simon sustained a thigh injury in his second training session with the Super Eagles in Uyo and report of the scan carried out on Simon revealed the extent of the injury.
“It is unfortunate Moses Simon will not be travelling with the team to London because he is down with an injury. The nature of his injury is such that he won’t be recovering quickly enough to make the World Cup. We are looking at three to four weeks and thereafter, rehabilitation training will start before getting to match fitness level. You can see that the situation is not good for him and for the team as well,” Rohr had said.
In an interview with THISDAY, Nduka Ugbade who led Nigeria to win the maiden edition of the U-16 World Youth Championship in China admitted that missing out of the World Cup with few weeks to the kickoff could be very devastating and an unforgettable trauma.
“For a playing player to be ruled out of a major competition like the World Cup when he is already dreaming it could be very devastating and the memory is not always a good one.
“It’s something I don’t always like to talk about because it was a painful experience. I was really looking forward to the 1994 World Cup, but, unfortunately, some people actually gathered against me to ensure that it never happened. In fact, I never knew that there would be many more World Cups for me to be involved in because I was so pained that I left football for almost three years.
“I feel very sorry for Simon. I hope he would shake it away with time. But the truth is that it’s not a palatable experience. It was one I went through and till today, it still pained,” Ugbade said then.
Former Nigerian international, Waidi Akani said he felt pained that Simon sustained the injury at such a crucial time in his career.
“Playing in the World Cup is the dream of any player because it remains the pinnacle of football. It is where great players like Pele, Diego Maradona, Bobby Moore and many others made their marks. No other football competition had been able to match it, not even the UEFA Champions League in spite of all the packaging given to it. Therefore, it could be very cruel for a player to miss out with just a few days to the competition due to injury,” Akani, who also missed out of the USA ’94 Mundial said.
Continuing he said, “When Mohamed Salah was injured in the finals of the UEFA Champions League, he was crying because of the possibility of missing out of the World Cup and not for anything else because his mind was already set for Russia.
“For Simon, he had worked hard to deserve a place in Russia but the injury has been most unkind to him. I just hope he would not allow it to affect his career. I felt for him really,” Akani opined.
Former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, said Simon was a big miss for the Super Eagles in Russia.
Simon scored one goal and provided two assists for Nigeria as they qualified for their sixth FIFA World Cup from a group that had Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia.
Born in Jos, Simon is a product of the famed GBS Academy, the same football academy in Nigeria that produced the likes of Ahmed Musa. In 2013, he signed a pre-contractual agreement with Dutch club, AFC Ajax, in pre-season training. He made his first appearance for Ajax on 13 July 2013 in a pre-season friendly match, coming on as a substitute.
He received his first call-up by Coach Daniel Amokachi in 2015 and made his debut in an international friendly against Uganda.