FS Metta, a club that will soon make waves in the European football, is very good when it comes to pulling off shrewd transfers. Nigerian starlet, Usman Abbas, is one transfer that may well end up paying dividends for the club in the future.
The Under-17 World Cup winner, who is a left back by trade, has already made six appearances for Andris Riherts' me and made his move from Nigerian club FC Heart. The youngster has begun to impress for his new club already.
Born in the populated city of Dala in Nigeria in 1998, Abbas was the first choice left back for the Nigerian Under-17s side during the qualification rounds of the Under-17 African Cup of Nations, in which Nigeria finished fourth and gained qualification for the Under 17 FIFA World Cup in 2015.
Having arrived at the tournament with a reputation of being a quality youngster who appeared regularly for the FC Heart academy, Abbas caught the eyes of many on lookers. His impressive showings for Nigeria got him on the Team of the Tournament, attracting interest from Metta.
In June, after what seemed to take an age, Abbas completed a move to the Virsliga side. But the move didn't come easy. The youngster had to endure a big amount of struggle, not just to reach where he is in his life now, but also when it comes to reaching Latvia from Nigeria.
"There were many difficulties, starting from Visa, which is never easy to get even if you have all the regular documents and all the other papers that in my case were really far from my city. So I had to move around on my own to get those," says the left back, who is an AS Roma fan and idolizes the likes of Brazilian star Marcelo and Bayern Munich's Austrian left-back David Alaba.
"I had to move firstly to Egypt an from there to Latvia. It was hard and a very long process but thanks to the constant support of my agent Giulio D'Alessandro and of Metta with Harijs Toms I was able to do it. A big problem in African Football is that there are too many agents and 90% of them are not really agents, because they ask money to young guys to help them or sometimes they give money to secure the signature of player's family. "
"I didn’t sign with any African agents, declining all the proposal because of that reason, I was helped and covered by my mentor who always guided me - Abdu Maikaba, coach of Wikki Tourist, a club that is on the top of Nigerian Premier League this season."
Style of play
An attack-minded full-back, Abbas has primarily featured in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 formation and has pace – a trait which normally comes naturally to several African footballers. Although small in stature, Abbas is an aggressive character, who oozes determination. A quiet personality, Abbas' work rate is very impressive. He hardly gets caught out of position and is often the first player to fall back when his side loses the ball.
Joining FS Metta, a Riga-based club that strives to act as a stepping stone for players who desire to make an impact on the bigger, Abbas has carried on from where he left off in the World Cup in Chile.
"People in and out football here are very nice. Riga is also a very nice city and I really like to live here. Metta has amazing training facilities and I like a lot about how training sessions are organized. We do a lot of tactics in Metta, very different from Nigeria where we mostly train on the basis of running and physical ability," he says, confident of success in the Baltic nation.
"I live in a house with three other African players of the team and I feel home having the possibility to give the best of myself. I received different offers during my period with Nigeria U17, even from Arab countries, I'm happy that I made the best decision possible. Here they take care of all aspects of a football player's life and I feel protected and stimulate."
One to look out for in the future
Abbas is someone who few would know but is one to look out for in the future. His move to Latvia would certainly help when it comes to making a splash in the bigger leagues in Europe in the future.
With regular game time set to be under his belt, considering the fact that he has already made six appearances for his new club, Abbas will get room and time to develop himself into a quality player. Much like Metta's in-demand attacking midfielder Roberts Uldrikis, who is on the radar of clubs like Werder Bremen and Ajax, Abbas has the quality and willingness to succeed and to make a breakthrough soon.