For Ghana’s Sadiq Ibrahim, playing for the Black Starlets had been a distant dream. A graduate of the ‘Right to Dream’ academy in Accra, he was not part of the team’s FIFA U-17 World Cup qualification as he was in Denmark with his academy’s junior team.
However, coach Paa Kwesi Fabin decided to include Sadiq Ibrahim in the final squad because of his devastating pace down the flanks. And so far, he has been a revelation.
Inspired by father
Ibrahim’s football journey started quite early. His father was an amateur player and at the age of four, he started to accompany him for his practice sessions. The boy couldn’t comprehend the rules but was captivated by the game. Keen to follow in his father’s footsteps, streets became Ibrahim’s practice ground.
“My dad was a footballer and I have been watching the game from a very young age. He was my idol when I was growing up and even when I was playing on the streets, I tried to replicate his movements. Those were my first lessons in the game,” Ibrahim told Hindustan Times.
His proper training started in 2010 when he joined the ‘Right to Dream’ Academy. Ibrahim was a quick learner and was soon selected in the academy’s junior team, which is sent to play in Denmark as a part of their exposure program. The 17-year-old learnt a lot from that experience. He believes playing in Europe has added a fresh dimension to his game.
“I joined the academy in 2010 and it has been a massive learning experience. Playing with the European kids have made me familiar to their style of playing. And without the help of my coaches and other backroom staff, I don’t think I will be where I am today”.
Aiming to wear Chelsea jersey
Ibrahim has been a live wire for Ghana in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. He wreaked havoc on the Colombian defense from the left flank and it was his goal that handed Ghana victory. He was able to switch flanks effortlessly during the match. When asked about his style of playing, he said he drew inspiration from his idol Eden Hazard, the Chelsea and Belgium star.
“I am a huge fan of Eden Hazard. In my opinion, he is one of the best wingers in the world. I always try to learn from his performances,” he said, beaming.
Ghana have three points from two matches. With their facing India in their final Group A encounter, the Black Starlets are unlikely to face any problem in reaching the knockout. But Ibrahim has set his sights higher. He hopes to follow in his idol’s footsteps by playing for the Premier League champions.
“My ultimate dream is to play for Chelsea, just like Hazard. I think the Premier League is a brilliant platform and in five years, my target is to represent the Blues.”