Introducing Baba Rahman : The Highest Rated African Prospect In Europe
The biggest game of the season in the Ghanaian league calendar was here again as all and sundry geared up to watch the two most successful domestic clubs in the country and of course across the African continent showcase what they had in store for that season’s ‘Super Clash’.
2011/2012 was but a mere academic exercise for the record league champions, Asante Kotoko – as they won the first of a three consecutive league titles.
Back to the Super Clash, Kotoko defeated Hearts of Oak 2-1, thanks to a late 35-yard howitzer from captain Akuffo. An absolute beauty it was.
But in the course of the game, something quite spontaneously intriguing and worrying happened – an experienced member of Ghana’s male senior national team, the Black Stars dented any hopes whatsoever of returning back into the side after he launched a recklessly reckless tackle on a certain pretty little boy.
Laryea Kingson’s silly tackle earned himself his marching orders without many debates. He literally said bye-bye to his already dying career. So on the flip side, who was this ‘pretty little boy’ at the receiving end?
Baba Rahman had joined the league champions on a season-long loan from lower tier side Dreams FC. The teenager had been handed a tall order in such a huge game. His performance was almost flawless, brimming with glimpses of darting runs and galvanized in all layers of cautiousness. He was nominated for the league’s Discovery Of The Year – but narrowly lost the gong.
Then 17 year-old, the left-back won the league in his first and only season in domestic topflight football. The exuberant left-back was later courted by Arsenal, Manchester City and many other top clubs according to speculations.
Rahman listened to the whispers of many Ghanaians as words echoed across the streets suggesting the nation had finally laid hands on the savior to ease the left-back crises over the years. Eagle’s eye monitoring was the least description for the surveillance; wherever he trod.
He eventually joined German side Greuther Furth, a move he attested was good enough for his development. Baba Rahman honed his talents within two seasons and was a regular member even as his team was relegated to the second tier of the German league. He played over 40 games.
Abdul Baba Rahman made an eleventh hour switch to current club FC Augsburg (as at the time this piece was filed). Sandwiched between his move was a fine last season with Greuther Furth and an exhilarating display at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2013 where Ghana scooped the bronze medal. He was very instrumental, thus nearing the promise land, to say the least. In his last game for Greuther Furth, he scored twice in a famous victory over archrivals Nuremburg.
Rahman’s decision to move to Augsburg raised a lot of eyebrows amongst many pessimists but quite a handful of optimists agreed it was a step forward in his footballing career.
It didn’t take too long a time for Baba Abdul Rahman to hit the ground running in Germany’s topflight division which earned him a debut national team cap in September against Togo where provided an assist as Ghana defeated the Hawks 3-2 away from home.
Though Emmanuel Adebayor was on the target, it is fair to admit the experienced forward was well-checked (if not pocketed) whenever he drifted out wide to wreck havoc to Ghana’s defense, credit to the darling boy – Baba Abdul Rahman.
Baba Rahman had now stamped his role as an authority in Ghana’s defense at the 2015 African Cup of Nations where Ivory Coast denied Ghana their 5th trophy at this stage. Ghana lost on penalties – Rahman converted his. He was tasked with applying brakes on the high-flying Ivorian talisman Yao Gervinho and he impressively tormented the pacy winger.
He provided an all important assist as Ghana pipped South Africa in the last group game in the dying embers as the Stars rallied from behind to win 2-1.
His pinpoint cross to Andre Ayew came in handy. He was but nothing short of brilliant against Senegal, the Black Stars’ sole defeat at the Afcon in which one of Baba Rahman’s marauding runs was vital as it ended up with Player of the Tournament – Christian Atsu earning a penalty for the Stars. It was only a replica of a trademark trait he also exhibited against Togo in the qualifiers, at home.
Back in Europe, the Afcon tournament buttered between two separate halves of the season where Baba Rahman didn’t fail to impress nor put his mojo back on. His impressive campaign all season was now the talking point.
Recent rumours suggest a host of many top clubs once again are wooing after the tail of Baba Adul Rahman, obviously for a scintillating campaign and maybe his pretty face (spare me), just maybe.
Though slightly below lanky (for his age perhaps), Baba Rahman’s frame is appreciably fitter and stronger than it appears, calm-cool-collected ball recycling instincts, he barely puts a wrong foot forward when tackling.
Often tempted to overdo things, Rahman is seldomly caught unaware of what to precisely do with the ball when at his feet (no stranger to players of his age group), he compensates that frailty with tailor-measured left-footed crosses and good dribbling prowess. Splendidly. His aerial abilities aren’t topnotch neither they are his susceptibility. He enjoys ghosting past defenders when he presses the devastating-surging-run-button.
Something wingers are quite jealous of, pretty sure. His interceptions represent the icing on the cake, for his well timed challenges and good defensive reading ability.
Baba Rahman filled Augsburg predecessor Matthias Ostrzolek’s role with sheer exquisity and aplomb, vindicated by the stats. Baba, in the German Bundesliga, has won 91 tackles with a success rate of 54 per cent. He has made 83 interceptions, 100 clearances and 12 blocks [via Squawka] and coupled with 4 assists. He also won 59 per cent of his aerial duels and created an impressive total number of 24 chances. His pass accuracy on the average is 69 per cent with an average distance of 19 meters. He played 31 games this campaign aside his involvement in the Afcon.
It surely isn’t surprising that his startling debut season for Augsburg perhaps might just have been the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle for a collectively inspiring campaign for the German side. It is noteworthy that, not only has Baba Rahman enthralled many top clubs to drool for his signature, he also got nominated for the Best Left-back in Bundesliga. Yes he did. Putting in a remarkably solid display against Wolfsburg and arguably shoving Ricardo Rodriguez down the pecking order generally.
If Baba Rahman’s development keeps up on such steady path, then we could be looking at the next big thing in football (not a one-off revelation), without a soothsayer uttering a single word. Who knows?