SNAPSHOT: How far can Rahman go?
Abdul Baba Rahman has earned plaudits for his performances at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations. How far can the Augsburg man go?
Maybe it’s not at all surprising to see how far Rahman has come. He was already on the radar of European clubs during his time at Kumasi side Asante Kotoko and has excelled at every challenge he’s come across. He had an excellent first season at the German second division club Greuther Fürth, where he was at the verge of being promoted with them if it wasn’t for losing a play-off.
Now he’s been impressing for Augsburg and Ghana, mostly when getting forward. Like most modern full-backs he likes to get forward. At both club and international level he plays ahead of wide men, Andre Ayew and Tobias Werner, who are creative outlets for their side and drift infield looking for the ball. This often means that when teams pinch in to adjust for the movement for his teammates Rahman has space to sprint forward and when he gets going, because of his stature and speed, he’s difficult to stop.
However, he’s not just a hard runner. He dribbles like a player who could be utilised further ahead and can send pin point crosses into the box, e.g. his cross for Andre Ayew to equalise against South Africa.
Like many young players he has his weaknesses. Defensively, when somebody gets in behind he can start tugging and is a bit of a foul merchant in this respect, but he’s younger and can get better defensively. He also tries to over complicate things a little in attack when he could be a bit more direct given the speed he has. Finally, another thing he could do to add a surprise factor into his game is to switch it up occasionally and go for the underlapping run, because as mentioned previously, he’s difficult to stop when he gets going and would probably create a few more goals or draw a couple of penalties.
After being the solution to the Black Stars long standing left-back problem Rahman is on the way to being an elite player, at least at European club level. Attacking full-backs with quality in the final third are highly sought after and it’s no surprise to see him being liked with the likes of Roma, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Chelsea.
The next move he makes in his career will be key. A move to a club like Chelsea could see him eternally on loan, like many of the young prospects the club are hoarding. The right coaching to refine his game is important and he could be the next Ghanaian player to make his mark at a big club like Michael Essien did 10 years ago, but he has some way to go. So let us enjoy his performances now, as we could be looking at a star in the making.