Why Manaf Umar Must Be Given Time To Settle At Hearts Featured
21 Feb

Why Manaf Umar Must Be Given Time To Settle At Hearts

There is this belief that journalists wax lyrical albeit one or two good performances of their sporting heroes but recent performances of Abdul Manaf Umar make such a thought a misnomer as his consistent sparkling performances continue to jolt people out of that belief.

Not since Winful Cobbina have Hearts had a midfielder so adept to controlling the game but what really makes him valuable is his work rate considering his slender frame.

He is a joy to watch when in possession and when he decides to dribble past players. It's not rare to see him go past two or three of them in just one of his runs.

With his magnetic right foot, he has the penchant of faking a pass, faking a shot, faking a direction in movement before he bursts away and leaves his markers chasing shadows. His team-mates and fans alike find it amusing.

His opponents, however, don’t find it amusing. Many have already labeled him as the ‘new Polo,’ but he’s not- yet.

To believe the same and to then immediately expect the type of service the Phobian legend provided is unfair.

Lest we forget, despite his magnificent performances for the club and by common decree, one of the best teenage players in his position in the country, he is still only 17 years of age. In order for him to be giving of his best at the club, he must be allowed some breathing space and not to be suffocated under the huge weight of expectation.

He can dribble intelligently, score and pass a ball well as his accuracy evidences, and he’ll have no issue in either putting his foot in when necessary or supplementing the attack. But ‘Polo-esque’ excellence won’t happen overnight.

Umar needs to be eased into the system and allowed to develop a new set of skills. ‘The Phobia way,’ if you prefer. His intelligence on the ball is spectacular for one so young, and transitionally as a team, the Phobians should find the ball being recycled from back to front much quicker.

On Wednesday, social media were awash with effusive praises for the young lad after his brace and an assist against Liberty Professionals- his fourth and fifth goals for the club thus far.

There’s an oft- repeated suggestion that the player is a perfect inclusion in the Hearts setup, and that he has the necessary playing attributes to succeed. Aside his on-pitch exploits, he’ll also need incredible mental strength to get through the ordeal of his first season at one of the biggest clubs on the continent.

Umar also has some growing up to do. First he’ll need to gain some upper-body strength if he wants to compete at the highest level on a more frequent basis.

It certainly takes time for one to achieve the aforementioned qualities.

Should he be given time to settle, it will be a travesty beyond compare if the boy from Bawku does not have the world talking about him in the next few years.

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