By Lolade Adewuyi
The 23-year-old is the face of more brands than any of his teammates in the Super Eagles as the World Cup begins this week.
The hardworking and focused Moses is the star of telecommunications giants GLO’s Super Eagles World Cup campaign.
The player, who was on loan at Liverpool in the recent English Premier League season, also appears in the Samsung Galaxy 11 global campaign alongside Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas.
Moses is also part of soft drinks giants Pepsi’s campaign, where he shares the platform with teammates Peter Odemwingie and Elderson Echiejile.
National team coach Stephen Keshi and his assistant Daniel Amokachi also feature in the Pepsi campaign.
Moses | The Darling of the Billboards
Since switching allegiance to Nigeria in 2012, after playing in the England youth teams, Moses’s popularity has grown and so has his reputation.
He was the most searched Nigerian sports personality online on Google, according to the 2013 Zeitgeist released by the search engine last year.
According to Google West Africa communications manager, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, his moment of fame came last year when he took off his shirt after scoring a penalty in the 2-0 defeat of Ethiopia in Calabar as Nigeria reached their fifth World Cup.
“That single image was searched by more people outside core football fans, women wanted to see the toned body of the player,” said Ogunlade.
The winger’s popularity is not restricted to his toned body, as he has become a match winner for the Super Eagles. He scored two late goals to help Nigeria defeat Ethiopia and reach the quarter finals at the 2013 Cup of Nations. He also won and converted a penalty in the team’s 2-1 loss to the United States in a friendly on Sunday.
“Moses plays attacking football, that’s why he’s attractive to the brands,” said Osamede Umweni, a football brands expert. “All over the world, the top footballers for brands are attackers and goal-scorers.
“Moses is like a game changer in the Super Eagles. Many people believe that if Moses plays well, he will change a game for Nigeria,” Umweni told Goal.
Mikel | Struggling to impact the marketplace
Meanwhile, Chelsea veteran John Obi Mikel will go to the World Cup as ambassador of Amstel Malta, his solo brand endorsement.
After years of playing in the top flight in Europe’s most followed league, the 27-year-old has not been able to leverage on his fame with brands.
This is put to the position he plays in the national team and his club – the defensive midfield.
“Mikel may not play some matches and we won’t feel him,” said Umweni.
However, many feel that his inability to draw brands could also be due to the perceived air of ‘arrogance’ that surrounds the player.
A brands expert who wished to remain anonymous told this writer that the Chelsea midfielder once turned down an opportunity to appear in a Pepsi commercial.
“Having come through the Pepsi Football Academy, we thought Mikel would have gladly done the commercial for them but he declined,” the source said.
But Umweni thinks the fault could be due to the people managing the player’s career.
“His managers have to do better, he has the potential to become the face of football in Nigeria with his worldwide exposure,” said Umweni.
On the technical side, with his success training the Super Eagles, coach Keshi is also reaping great rewards having become ambassador for national team sponsors PEAK Milk.
The 52-year-old is the first Nigerian coach to be celebrated is such a way, as he is reaping the fruits of his 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winning campaign.
His face also proudly stares down billboards in major Nigerian cities in the Pepsi commercial alongside his assistant and former team mate Daniel Amokachi.
The World Cup commercial train is not restricted to current players, as retired footballers are also making a big impact.
Former skippers Austin Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu have been hired by big brands GLO and STAR lager beer to feature in their campaigns.
They have shown that the field is wide enough for everyone to enjoy from the football craze of the moment.