Musa move’ll benefit Eagles – Babalade

4 years ago

Ahmed Musa made the right decision to swap CSKA Moscow for Premier League champions Leicester City, says former Nigeria defender Ajibade Babalade.

South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner Musa last week joined the Foxes after helping the Horses win the Russian Premier League title on a four-year deal for a club-record fee of around £16m.

A host of Premier League outfits including Southampton, Everton and West Ham hotly pursued the former Venlo star but Claudio Ranieri’s side eventually won the race to land the Super Eagles attacker, who gained a reputation for himself after scoring twice in Nigeria’s 3-2 defeat to Argentina at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

And Ranieri, who has earned plenty of plaudits for guiding the Blues to their first Premier League title last season, has given the thumbs up to the 23-year-old former Kano Pillars forward.

“Musa can bring his amazing speed to the party,” The Sun quoted the 64-year-old former Juventus manager as saying of his Nigerian import during the week.

“I don’t know if he’s as quick as Jamie Vardy but he has lots of speed.

“It’s very important to have another airplane in our squad. Remember we are the RAF and now we’ve signed another one of them!”

Ranieri’s views were echoed by Senegal ’92 Africa Cup of Nations bronze medallist Babalade, who is backing the player to be a nightmare for defenders in the Premier League next season.

And the Shooting Stars team manager believes Musa could prove vital in Nigeria booking a ticket to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Nigeria will meet their most fierce rivals Cameroon, current African most ranked team Algeria and Zambia after being drawn together in Group B in the Russia 2018 World Cup final round qualifiers.

“I’m happy Musa decided to move to the Premier League,” the former Austria-based player told our correspondent during the week.

“He’s a quick forward with dribbling skills –and he will trouble defenders a lot in the Premier League.

“Musa can score goals and provide assists and he’s a gifted player.”

The 1996 CAF Champion League silver medallist added, “The Eagles need a player like Musa for the World Cup qualifiers.

“His dribbling skills and pace will be needed by the team to put the opponents under pressure.

“He’s got an eye for goal – and will pose a big goal threat to all our opponents during the qualifiers.

“Since we don’t have many big names in the Eagles, Musa can combine with Mikel Obi to motivate other players in the team.

“We saw what Portugal did at Euro 2016. Ronaldo’s experience helped the team win the tournament. “They didn’t rely much on Ronaldo but played as a team. We should learn from them – and Musa can be our major weapon upfront with Mikel directing affairs from the midfield.

“Musa will learn a lot playing in the Premier League under Ranieri, who is an experienced manager.

“The player’s experience in England will benefit the national team, because he will transfer what he has learnt to the team.”

Babalade, who decried the declining fortunes of Nigerian football, called for the Nigeria Football Federation to support the incoming manager of the team.

He said, “The three coaches shortlisted for the job – Frenchman Paul Le Guen, Belgian Tom Saintfiet and Salisu Yusuf – are good enough for the team.

“But the lucky coach faces a difficult task because we don’t have a team. He has to work very hard to get us a ticket to the World Cup.

“Nigerians are impatient and they will not forgive him or the NFF if we fail to qualify for the World Cup after missing out on two Africa Cup of Nations.”

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