Dream chance for young Kiwi

By Jared Smith


James Musa must have been standing in the offices of his Fulham FC club thinking he was still asleep on the plane as management was talking to him.

Less than 48 hours after talking to the Wanganui Chronicle at his parents' home and mentioning his goal was being loaned out by his Premier League club to get crucial game-time, Musa landed back in London to be told exactly that.

The 20-year-old soccer international would not have even had time to unpack before heading off again to the River Wye, near the border of Wales.

Fulham have used the transfer window of January to lend their Under-21 team prospect to Hereford United FC, who play in the Conference National league.

In an interview given to one of the club's supporter's websites Bulls News Hereford United chairman David Keyte confirmed on New Year's Day that Musa was on his way.

"He's from Fulham and he's coming in initially for a month.

"He's a left-sided defender, James Musa, a Kiwi. He's only a young lad.

"We've got so many games stacking up and Martin [Foyle] is keen to have enough cover."

Musa's mother, Mandy Musa, said while the level of competition was lower than Premier League, it would still be a hard challenge for her son.

Having just found his feet and acclimatised in the Fulham environment, thanks to forming a bond with his teammates, he now had to start again fresh straight on to the field as well.

Even coming from England herself, Mrs Musa was not familiar with Hereford, so could only imagine how her New Zealand-raised son would handle it.

"We knew that [loan] was on the cards and we were just waiting for James to call us.

"I think he was a bit shocked when he got back and was told he was going to Hereford.

"A month's loan is good for him and he's just got to be professional and see it through.

"It's more about him getting game time so he can strengthen. This is his opportunity to prove he can play week in, week out."

While it is true the Conference National league is some way down the English football league system fifth-highest behind Premier, Football League Championship and the Football League's 1-2 after eight matches in the last three months at Fulham it is still a good grounding for the Musa to really cut his teeth in the game over there.

Hereford FC, the "Bulls", were relegated from League Two in the 2011/12 season and are looking to climb up the ranks from their current competition, a mixture of both full and semi-professional clubs. On New Year's Day, Hereford earned their first win over the Kidderminster Harriers since 1998 beating them 1-0 away at Aggborough stadium.

Musa will also do well to pick the brain of Hereford's manager Martin Foyle, who played 533 league games in his 20-year career. Mirroring Musa's situation, Foyle started as a trainee for a glamour Premier League club, Southampton, and was loaned out twice in his four years there.

He later played for league clubs such as Aldershot and Oxford University before becoming a record signing with Port Vale, who paid £375,000 for him in 1991.

Foyle stayed with Port Vale for his remaining nine years as a player, collecting a post-WWII club record of 107 goals.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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