Mujahid Ibrahim Sharif is a fast rising footballer who plies his trade for newly promoted Jigawa Golden Stars. The youngster who played a key role in Jigawa Stars promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League told Trust Sports that his ambition is to play for Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Nigeria’s senior team, the Super Eagles. He also spoke on his how Jigawa Stars returned to the topflight after over seven years in the lower division.
How did you start your football career?. Did you start in the streets or in a football academy?
To be honest with you I started just like many other football stars in Nigeria did. I started in the streets from where I joined a football academy. Again, I have to be honest enough to tell you that even the academy was not so different from street football. It was only better than what we were doing by ourselves in the streets. The academy is called Ado Bora Sports Academy, ABSA, located at Kaura Goje, Bridgate, Kano. It is just a modest football academy without corporate sponsors. However, it has been able to produce so many football stars. I want to use this medium to specially appreciate Ado Bora for making sure that out of his limited resources, he encouraged talents youths to realise their dreams of playing football. I urge others to emulate his passion and commitment to youth football development.
How many clubs have you played for since you started your football career?
I started playing league for Zage United, which was competing in 2nd division at state level. I later joined Shinge Football Club, before it turned to Tofa. I then moved to Intex FC, which was in the amateur division from where I switched over to Cosmos FC Bridgate. When I was playing for Cosmos, I was scouted by officials of Jigawa Golden Stars when they were still competing in the Nigeria National League. I joined them and helped the club gain promotion to the Nigeria Professional Football League. So at the moment, I am bracing up for life in the topflight.
Would you say your major achievement in football so far is Jigawa Stars’ promotion to the NPFL?
Of course, it is obvious that my biggest achievement for now is Jigawa Stars’ promotion to the NPFL. Without doubt, I contributed my quota to the success story of the club. However, I want us to look back to where I am coming from. If you look carefully at my career, you will realize that I am progressing steadily. Like I told you, I started in the street from where I moved into a football academy where I learnt the basics. From there, I began to play for amateur clubs and I will be featuring in Nigeria’s topflight when the league resumes in September. In addition, as an attacking winger, I have scored goals for Jigawa Golden Stars. In summary, I am happy with the progress I have made.
How many goals did you score for Jigawa Golden Stars in the concluded season?
All thanks to almighty Allah. I scored 8 goals in the 10 friendly matches I played for Jigawa Golden Stars. And in the just concluded National League season, I featured in 8 matches and scored 7 goals to emerge as the club’s highest goal scorer. My goals helped Jigawa Golden Stars to pick one of the tickets to the NPFL.
How happy were you when your club qualified to play in the NPFL?
I lack words to express my joy. It is the dream of every player to feature in the highest division in the domestic league and within a short time, I am going to realise this dream. I attribute this success to almighty Allah who has made it possible.
How are you preparing for life in the topflight?
I can’t wait for the season to commence. I know it is not going to be easy but with the support of my team mates, I will continue to do what I know how to do best. I want to prove to everyone that I am a player for the big stage.
Do you have any dream of one day playing professional football in Europe?
Sure, I do. Playing in Europe is one of my dreams in football. I don’t just want to play in Europe. I want to play for one of the biggest clubs in European football and that is Real Madrid. Apart from that, it is also my dream to represent my country at the senior level. That is to say I want to play for the Super Eagles. However, I will be happy to start from any of the junior national teams. My ultimate desire is to play for the Super Eagles.
Who is your role model in football?
Right from when I was small, I admired Cristiano Ronaldo. He made me fell in love with Real Madrid. So anytime I am playing, I try to emulate his styles and skills. He is my role model.
What are the challenges you face as a young football player?
To be honest, there’re no serious challenges for now. Before, I couldn’t buy soccer boots and socks for myself as I relied on my friends and well-wishers who used to provide these for me. But at the moment, I am fending for myself and also supporting my family and friends. I have no cause to be ungrateful to Allah.
Apart from Jigawa Golden Stars, which other Nigerian club do you support?
I am an avid supporter of Kano Pillars. I really appreciate the way they have brought football in northern Nigerian to limelight. They have also won so many trophies. If one day I play for them, I will be very happy.
How much support are you expecting from the government of Jigawa State now that the team will be competing in the NPFL?
They’re just doing their best for the club. But I think the sports loving governor needs to maintain the tempo and commitment. If we are adequately motivated, I am sure we would write the name of Jigawa State in gold in Nigerian football.