Monday, February 15, 2016

A Case For Baba Rahman


I am very sure the first thing majority of the readers of this article will look at is my current geographical location as well as my nationality .




It is very true that I am a Ghanaian and as such there is the tendency for me to look at this issue through a prejudiced pair of glasses. However I can assure everyone that my mode of thinking was in no way whatsoever influenced by this.

4th November, 2015, a Mourinho Chelsea in dire need of a result matched up against a Kyiev side full of confidence with their gem Andriy Yarmelonko almost unplayable . Due to the injury and poor form of Ivanovic, the $21 million signing, Baba Rahman was called upon.

At 21, Baba is in that stage of his career where he needs a lot of game time in order to gain the experience he will need when he gets to the third and most important phase of his career.

He has not quite had this after his switch from the Bundesliga but he grabbed the opportunity given to him with both hands. He played the perfect match, a blend of power, pace and extremely high levels of concentration to render Yarmalenko pretty much despondent on the night winning the plaudits of fans and critics alike.

Fast forward to 8th November, in Mourinho’s absence, due to much talked about stadium ban conferred on him by the F.A, the full back was once again drafted into the team.

This time he was up against diminutive winger Xherdan Shaqiri. Even by the high standard he set by his midweek performance, keeping Shaqiri is by no means a walk in the park.

He is so quick and powerful even full backs in their prime dread an encounter with him. Unfortunately Baba joined the long list of fullbacks who endured a torrid time against Xherdan. He was caught ball watching when he should have been tighter on Glen Johnson leading to goal that won all the points for the Potters.

As fickle as the human race is , people immediately started asking for him to be dropped indefinitely. Most notably the British press , with agencies such as the Telegraph giving him a rating as low as 3 out of a possible 10. It is quite understandable but this is too harsh. If I may ask, how many 21 year olds can keep playing at such a high level consistently? A footballer’s career can be divide into 4 different phases ;

(a) the post 30 year phase

(b) the peak / prime years

(c) the learning phase and

(d) the prodigy years.

Our person of interest lies in the (c) phase. Even the greatest players to have ever graced our football pitches all struggled for consistency. Between 19 – 25, players tend to frustrate supporters with a blend of amazingly impressive performances and shockingly dismal ones also.

Even Lionel Messi and all his supreme ability struggled during that phase of his illustrious career. Cristiano Ronaldo was still finding his identity during that period of the career and even Zidane admitted that was the period where he wasn’t sure of himself.

Current examples as Raheem Sterling , Harry Kane, Oscar, Memphis Depay, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku continue to flatter to deceive. These examples are even more regarded in football circles than Baba but are not subjected to this much criticism as Baba. It is true his price tag is quite an amount but that’s what our game has become. Huge fees are paid to selling clubs by bigger clubs with the hope of these young stars blossoming into the game’s next top superstars.

No matter how frustrating they may be to coaches and fans alike, they need a lot of care and patience. They also need to be given enough confidence to attempt the extraordinary on the pitch and not retreat into their shells and potentially waste the talents they possess. This is all I am asking of Chelsea fans all around the globe. We should believe that the fluctuating performance levels he is exhibiting now is just the rain to the beautiful rainbow he will become in the next few years. We need to believe that the next top full back, the heir to Ashley Cole, is right in our team.

Wir brauchen , um in Baba glauben!!