City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim is re-writing the history books for East African footballers across the globe.
MANCHESTER (Somalilandpress) — The 18-year-old made his full debut at Scunthorpe in the FA Cup in January then came off the bench against Liverpool in February to become the first Somali-born footballer to play at the highest level in England.
Though he represents his adopted country Norway at international level, it is still a great source of pride for Ibrahim that he has put not only Somalia, but East Africa on the world football map.
“I’ve heard that I’m not only the first Somali-born footballer to play in the Premier League, but also the first East African, too,” said Abdi.
“I feel very proud to have achieved this at such a young age – it is the result of a lot of hard work and it just makes me want to do even better.
It’s the sort of thing I dreamed of as a kid, so for it to have become a reality is incredible
But Abdi accepts that representing his birth country is highly unlikely – he is already an established youth international for Norway, where he lived almost 10 years before joining City.
He added: “I’ve played at most levels for Norway from Under-15s up to the Under-19s, and if I am ever called up by the senior national side, I would be happy to take the opportunity.
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“I would love to give something back to a country that welcomed my family and gave us the chance to build a new life.”
Abdi is hoping for more chances to impress in the remainder of the season, but claims whatever happens in the closing weeks, it’s been an amazing first year with the senior squad.
He said: “I’ve had a terrific season – I only arrived six months ago and I’ve progressed to the first team. Everything has happened so quickly, but I’m loving every minute.”
Source: Manchester City, 7th April 2010