Saturday, August 28, 2010

'Ahmed Musa will go places'

In spite of having to leave the Nigeria Premier League after just a season with runner-up, Kano Pillars Football Club, teenage striker, Ahmed Musa, has continued to receive plaudits from different quarters with three coaches certain that he is destined for greater achievements.
Musa’s coach at Kano Pillars, Salisu Yusuf, as well as the counterparts at Enyimba and former Heartland Football Club, Kelechi Emeteole and John Obuh respecitvely, gave their verdict on the 17-year-old talent.
Kano Pillars’ head coach began by describing his first encounter with Musa on arrival at his team’s camp almost a year ago on recommendation after he scored against Pillars in a league game two seasons ago while at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Football Club on loan.
“I didn’t really know much about him to be sincere,” began Yusuf, formerly with Lobi Stars, in an interview with “But Ahmed (Musa) straight away made an impression during his first game for us and even during the training sessions. It’s been a long while that the league has produced such a player that can singlehandedly wreak opponents like he did for us last season.”
Indeed, Musa produced breath-taking moments while donning the colours of Kano Pillars and little wonder, Yusuf said he was not surprised that the young striker became the first player to score 18 goals in a single season in the Nigerian league.
Yusuf also said Musa’s technique on and off the ball is a unique attribute of his understanding of the round leather game.
“He is a fantastic player. When he is with the ball he can take on a whole defence and when he is not with the ball, he is dangerous and creates space for his team-mates because of his pace. Last season, he made us look very dangerous when we counter-attack and most of our goals came from such when he is playing.
“That he scored 18 goals and became the first to do so did not surprise me. I think he should have scored more than that but couldn’t because of injuries. Technically, Ahmed is a gifted player and he will always do well in any team that he finds himself,” Yusuf said.
Musa, who turns will officially sign for Dutch club, VVV-Venlo when he turns 18 on October 14, made 33 appearances for Kano Pillars in the Premier League last season.
Former Heartland coach, Emeteole, who had a first-hand dose from the silky skills of Musa during a Premier League game last season at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano on October 18, 2009 acknowledged that the player from Aminchi Football Academy, Bukuru has the future well-spread before him.
On that day, Emeteole known as Caterpillar during his days as a player watched helplessly, as his side crumbled under the symbiotic relationship between Musa and Bello Kofarmata that produced four goals.
And it did not take long before Emeteole snapped up Musa’s partner in the January transfer window.
“He is a very good player. I still remember how he made us look so ordinary in that game in Kano when Heartland lost four-nil. He combined so well with Bello in that game.
“I believe for a player like him to score 18 goals, it means a lot – that he has talent. I am sure that he will go on to become a very good player for Nigeria, and that is depending on how our (national team) coaches perceive the situation,” said Emeteole.
Musa has also had the chance to work with former Golden Eaglets’ coach, John Obuh, who took charge at another Premier League side, Sharks. The relationship between Musa and Obuh was at the Under-20s, and the Nigerian coach spoke in glowing terms of the teenage attacking winger.
Obuh told “Sincerely, he is an asset to any team. He can play as a striker and also as a winger from the right and left. For the brief period I have worked with him (at the Under-20 team), he has shown that he is ready to take his game to the next level. I have no doubt in my mind that he will do well wherever he goes. But I will continue to monitor his activities, as he is a member of the Under-20 team now.”
However, Kano Pillars appears to be the biggest loser in the departure of Musa from Nigeria’s top-flight after an eventful season.
Yusuf accepts that it will be difficult to find an exact player in the like of Musa to fill the void he is leaving at the Kano club.
“It is difficult to find two players of the same kind. Since Pele retired, we are yet to see someone like him. Same goes for players like (Diego) Maradona and even our own (Austin ‘Jay Jay’) Okocha. So it will be hard to get another Ahmed Musa, because there is just one Ahmed Musa. But as much as Kano Pillars will miss him, we will cope well without him,” rounded off Yusuf.

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