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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones