The ‘Talent Scout’ feature takes a look and the best young players featuring in the Russian Premier League. Next up is on-loan Rubin Kazan midfielder Magomed Ozdoev…
Sadly there are plenty of stories of children of war zones suffering hardship and then going on to forge successful careers as top flight footballers. There are numerous examples from the former Yugoslavia and various African states. It’s sad only in that they had to go through such a childhood, but perhaps that is what gives them the drive and determination to succeed
Magomed Ozdoev is one such example and the success he is enjoying at Rubin Kazan right now is a far cry from his tumultuous younger days. Born in 1992, the two-year old Ozdoev’s family were forced to flee the fighting in Grozny during the Chechen crisis and were made refugees.
They settled in Ingushetia and thanks to the kindness and hospitality of locals managed to find their feet. Ozdoev’s father, who himself had played in his younger days, set up a village team and at the age of 8, young Magomed began his football journey.
His talent became quickly obvious and at the age of 15 he was taken in by the Terek Grozny academy system. He however didn’t move beyond the youth team and moved to Dynamo Kiev in 2009. Again his found his chances limited by his age and the number of foreigners permitted to play at the time.
2010 brought a move to Moscow with Lokomotiv and things began to happen for Ozdoev. After ten impressive appearances for the youth side he was invited by coach Yuri Semin to join the first-team on a pre-season training camp in Austria and grabbed the attention by scoring the winner in a friendly with Rubin.
He made his Premier League debut as an 87th minute substitute in a 2-1 win over Anzhi in July 2010 and made two further sub appearances that season. Yury Krasnozhan handed him his first start the following season against Krasnodar and Ozdoev went on to make 30 appearances scoring once.
Such was his progress that he was even called-up to the provisional Russian squad ahead of Euro 2012, but ended up missing out on the final cut. Things turned sour for Ozdoev at Lokomotiv though and he jumped at the chance for a season-long loan at Rubin Kazan for the 2014-15 campaign.
He full national team debut came in September in the friendly with Azerbaijan and Ozdoev looks very much to be in the plans of Russian coach Fabio Capello and can set his sights on the World Cup in 2018.
From war-zone to World Cup- if he makes it- it will have been quite a journey for Magomed Ozdoev.