Alhassan Ibrahim – Failed Arsenal Target, Once Rated Ahead Of Iheanacho Turning Heads In NPFL

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The story of Akwa United free scoring midfileder Alhassan Ibrahim popularly referred to as Mu’azam won’t be complete without visiting the issues that stifled his growth.

Back in 2012 when Nigeria U-17 coach Manu Garba finished screening for the next badge of cadet players for Nigeria, the one player whose name was on everybody’s lips was Ibrahim Alhassan.

The midfielder who loves to play just behind the main striker was a beauty to behold during the qualifiers for the African U-17 Youth Championship which was hosted by Morocco in 2013.

Mu’azam missed out on the tournament after falling short of the mandatory MRI Scan, but English Premier League giants have seen enough in the two qualifiers against Niger Republic and Guinea Conakry, hence they slapped in a bid for his services.

His agent (names withheld) killed the deal, when he insisted on taking control of negotiations instead of working in tandem with the intermediary who brought the interest from the English Premier League giants.

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He subsequently tried out with some clubs in Europe but an ankle injury stopped him from joining any of the teams despite his performance, and his lack of club football subsequently cost him a spot in the 2015 Nigeria U-20 team for the World Youth Championship.

That exclusion happened to be the kick he needed to get his career back on track, as he joined Wikki Tourist last year and played a role in Godwin Obaje emerging as the highest goal scorer in the league.

He moved to Akwa United before the start of this season, and his form has once again gone back to 2012 where he was the big hit in a Nigeria team ahead of the likes of Manchester City Kelechi Iheanacho and Watford’s Isacc Success.

So far he has found the back of the net seven times as a pseudo striker, a strike rate that has made him one of the feared forwards in the Nigeria Professional Football League, and a show of why Arsenal pulled the stop to sign him in 2012.

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* Ade Emmanuel