Feature: Rabiu – the unsung hero in the Ghana set up
By Ameenu Shardow
He came into the side as merely a back up plan but turning out to be the real deal for Ghana at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Not your flambouyant player but will give you a 100 percent and over.
I dare say in modern day football, aside talent, one other driving tool in which football thrives the most is devotion and total commitment to the course.
This is Rabiu Mohammed.
The 23-year-old burst onto the scene as an exciting talent while with Liberty Professionals.
His name however didn’t pop up as one of the forefront future talents to watch out for until he hopped from loan after loan stints with Gimnastic, Xerez and then Sampdoria.
He then joined Udinese where he never really had a look in into the first team before moving to France with Evian Thonon Gaillard initially on a loan deal and then subsequently an outright sale.
Rabiu’s rise to fame was to be a swift one – he was part of a talented crop of Ghanaian youngsters who made history as the first African side to win the World Cup at U20 level in 2009.
It is from that golden age of players that perhaps the current Black Stars team is being built on.
Andre Ayew, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Jonathan Mensah, Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare and Rabiu himself have been consistent members of the Ghana national team for the past three years or so.
But let us not get distracted, the main focus of this piece is to highlight the immense stealth contribution he is making to Ghana’s campaign in South Africa.
Make no mistakes, he is the original back up plan for Anthony Annan who has been so good when playing for Ghana.
But with injury robbing Annan off the chance to slot in as usual as an impeccable shield for the ‘not too stable’ Ghana defence, Rabiu has come into the side and is gradually making that position his own.
After coming on as a substitute in the first game for Ghana – the 2-2 draw with DR Congo, the ex Liberty Professionals player has never looked back.
His reading of the game, making of vital interventions and most importantly making tackles without necessarily fouling and attracting cautions for me wins the day.
In that game against Mali, where Ghana labored for a much needed win, Rabiu was just superb.
That lanky ‘fragile’ Rabiu emerged a star in the midfield against well built and highly talented opposition in Momo Sissoko, Diakite Samba and Seydou Keita.
The youngster was just picking the pockets of these experienced players on the other side and playing it simple with neat one touch passes to start Ghana’s own attack.
As if I was not impressed enough, Rabiu took his performance up another notch with such a sterling display in Ghana’s 3-0 thumping of Niger on Monday.
His assured performance in the midfield gave the Black Stars a solid background on which attacks were launched.
While Annan might be the preferred choice for every coach for his added quality of immense experience, I strongly believe we let this young lad continue with his starting role which he has played so far with distinction.
I am now looking forward to the day Rabiu’s guaranteed quality in shielding the defence is complemented with goals – which will for me take him closer to what many believe is the new Patrick Viera.