Talent Scout: Ahmed Musa, CSKA Moscow


From Rashidi Yekini to Finidi George, Jay-Jay Okocha to Nwankwo Kanu, Nigeria has always been able to call upon a production line of exciting talent. Yet as the 2012 African Cup of Nations gets underway next week, the Super Eagles' omission from the continent's football showpiece represents a product of the disorganisation that threatens to ruin a whole generation of Nigerian players.

The job to unite the split Football Association and bring the national team back to the top falls to legendary centre half Stephen Keshi, a man not seen as the ideal choice, but the best value for money by his employers. Part of Keshi's new plan for building a bright future involves recruiting young European-based players with dual nationality, such as Newcastle powerhouse Shola Ameobi, Wigan flyer Victor Moses and Arsenal teenager Chuks Aneke.

They all promise to be good options for Keshi, but the real backbone to his new-look side must come from players who have already come through the system, such as 19-year-old winger Ahmed Musa, newly acquired by Russian outfit CSKA Moscow and a player with bags of potential for the future.

Yet look beyond his tender age, and Musa is a prospect who already boasts notable achievements in the game, and comes with a raw freshness that could be the perfect ingredient to Keshi's new mixture.

Born in the former mining city turned conflict zone of Jos, Musa began his education with prestigious home town club Aminichi, before spending time on loan at JUTH FC as a 16-year-old. A year later, he would earn another temporary switch, this time to Kano Pillars, where his 18-goal haul sealed Musa's place in the record books for the most goals in a Nigerian league season, a feat last achieved two years before his birth. It was big stuff.

So much so that plucky Musa was then sold to Dutch Eredivisie minnows VVV-Venlo, as his remarkable rise continued. The promising forward had his arrival delayed due to FIFA red tape, but after turning 18, showed he was worth the wait by winning a crucial penalty minutes into his debut.

Musa would go on to show his ability in front of goal too, bagging braces against Ajax and Feyenoord en route to attracting a notable €10 million bid from an unnamed German club. The scouts kept coming, but it appeared Venlo would hold onto their man, until CSKA Moscow pulled off the notable coup of signing Musa for €4 million earlier in the transfer window.

The 19-year-old must now adapt to a new country, a new language and a new league, but expect his key qualities to remain the same.

Musa is a five foot seven inch winger with a skinny frame and long legs, but boasting electric pace and high-speed dribbling, he's an intimidating figure to face.

His pace may be his most natural and damaging asset, but it's Musa's desire to run directly at opponents to isolate them and force mistakes where he really flourishes, combing feet so quick he barely appears to be in control, added to good agility and balance, allowing him to drift past challenging defenders like they're not even there.

A right-footed right winger who can also play on the left, Musa is not an  instinctive goalscorer, but his direct approach means he's always looking to cut inside, where the prospect often finds space in the box. His composure needs some work, but awareness of others and range of finishing is already advanced.

Add to that a good work rate, enough skills to get him out of trouble but not being too over flashy and a positive attitude, and Musa has a lot going for him.

However, he still remains quite raw, and that's perhaps why Europe's top clubs were not prepared to put their money where their scouts were this winter. Musa needs to bulk up physically to avoid losing 50:50 skirmishes so easily, be more tactically disciplined and learn to be less reliant on consistently cutting inside, being prepared to hug the touchline and use his left foot more.

Overall though, Musa is a really good prospect. A small, fast, direct and confident winger with good balance, awareness and trickery, if he can develop into a more natural wideman and be more composed in front of goal, he can become exactly the type of player Nigeria and CSKA need to fulfil their potential.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Cumberbatch spectacularly photobombs U2 at the Oscars
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Will menus with calorie counts really deter junk-food addicts from eating junk?
Today's Liverpool Echo back page
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
Life and Style

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?