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Mohammed eyes Eagles big break

FIVE years after he was discovered playing on the dusty streets of Sokoto bare foot, Usman Mohammed is set to make his Super Eagles debut against Niger in a friendly on Tuesday.
The FC Taraba skipper, who is already an integral member of the Nigeria Olympic team, could even have made his Eagles bow in Tanzania at the weekend but for a “confused” display in a test match before the AFCON qualifier in Dar es Salaam.
Russia-based Lukman Haruna was therefore considered ahead of him, but Usman will now get another chance to prove his class in Tuesday’s friendly against the Mena of Niger in Port Harcourt.
“Usman was an Almajiri (street kid in Hausa language) who I discovered playing on the street without any shoes in Sokoto,” said coach Ahmadu Lawal, who at that time headed an academy bankrolled by the Sokoto government aimed at taking youths off the streets.
“Even from that first day, he showed he is a natural and I‘m not surprised with what he has achieved within five years of hard work.”
The youngster was subsequently shipped out to feature for Ranchers Bees of Kaduna for the 2011/12 season in the Nigeria National League, before he moved to FC Taraba and helped them win a historic promotion to the Nigerian top-flight league.
Nigeria Olympic team coach Samson Siasia said the player has huge potentials.
“He is a good player, if he was not good, he won’t be in my team. He is a good listener and he has great potentials,” Siasia remarked.
He is a versatile midfielder, who could play as a defensive, central or attacking midfielder, and he is blessed with a great technique, which allows him to keep the game simple.
In 2012, he was to have signed a five-year deal with FC Tavriya of Ukraine before a change of management caused the foreign players to be offloaded.
Usman has continued to spark off interests from several clubs in Europe, but his handlers insist he will not be rushed to move overseas.
He is now expected to feature for the country in a 2016 CHAN qualifier against Burkina Faso in October and the following month, he will be part of the Dream Team VI for the Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Senegal, which will serve as a qualifier for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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