Victor Moses was a key figure in Chelsea’s 4-2 defeat yesterday against fierce local rivals Tottenham at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinal. The Nigerian wing-back was dominant as he has been most season in attacking and defensive positions on Chelsea’s right flank and his clever run in the 40 minute won them a penalty with a foul by Son Heung-min.
Naijiant.com caught up before the match with Iain Dowie, the former Crystal Palace manager, who gave Moses his first break in the English game. Dowie recalled how Moses, then about 14, used to hang around the Palace training ground in Beckenham, South London as the senior team trained. The former manager, now a Sky Sports pundit, said that Moses used to come up to him and tell him that he was a good footballer, but Dowie didn’t have much time for the young boy.
Moses persisted, asking Dowie to give him a chance, which the manager reluctantly agreed to, sending Moses to one of his assistants, who arranged a game with the kid and some reserves and youth team members.
Dowie said he soon forgot about Moses afterwards, only for the youth team coaches to start raving about him, telling the manager that he needed to see this new kid. After watching Moses with the youth team, Dowie said he knew they had a genuine star on their hands and the club quickly gave him a place in the academy.
Dowie then got closer to the shy Moses and found out how was brought to the UK by an uncle after his parents were killed in Nigeria. The former manager and Moses have remained close to this day.
The Nigerian international established himself as a tricky right winger, before moving from Palace to Wigan and then Chelsea in 2012. But he was never able to hold down a regular place at Stamford Bridge and had loan spells at Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham.
This season new Chelsea coach Antonio Conte converted Moses to a wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation, which has taken them to four points clear at the top of the Premier League table with six games to go.
Dowie said Conte has given Moses so much confidence that was not always there with previous managers and was very pleased at how far the young boy he gave a chance over 12 years ago has come.