Ali Ashfaq

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Ali Ashfaq
Personal information
Date of birth (1985-09-06) 6 September 1985 (age 29)
Place of birth Malé, Maldives
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
PDRM FA
Number 7
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2005 Club Valencia ? (?)
2006–2007 New Radiant ? (?)
2007–2008 DPMM FC 2 (0)
2008–2011 VB Sports Club 40 (57)
2012–2013 New Radiant 36 (52)
2014– PDRM FA 24 (22)
National team
2003– Maldives ? (41)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 February 2013.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21 May 2014

Ali Ashfaq (born 6 September 1985) is a Maldivian footballer nicknamed Dhagandey (not to be confused with Iron Man) who plays for Malaysian Premier League side PDRM FA. He is widely regarded as one of the best players in south Asia region along with Baichung Bhutia.[1][2] He is noted for his strength, amazing dribbling skills and the capability of beating any sort of defenders, according to many coaches. He is a freekick specialist and a clinical finisher. His trademark style of scoring is beating couple of defenders and rounding off the keeper to score. He is considered as the best Maldivian footballer ever most notably when he won the most valuable player of South Asia in 2008 and won the fans favourite player of South Asia in 2009. He has played for Club Valencia, DPMM FC, VB Sports Club and New Radiant SC in the Dhiraagu Dhivehi League. He also is the captain of the Maldives national football team.

Early life[edit]

Ashfaq was born in Malé, the capital of Republic of Maldives, where he grew up with his mother and brother Ahmed Ashfan. He reputedly showed a keen interest in football since a very young age, and preferred playing football to attending school. He was the captain Majeediyya School football team when they played in the Interschool Football Tournament those years. The local football team, Club Valencia, took an interest in him, and in 2001 joined Club Valencia and thus started his professional football career.[3]

Club career[edit]

Club Valencia[edit]

26 October 2001, Maldivian Under-16 forward Ali-Ashfaq (16 years,one month and 20 days) played his very first match in POMIS CUP 2001 tournament against Thailand's BEC Tero Sasana Football Club, wearing the Club Valencia jersey for the very first time. He scored his first goal against Victory Sports Club in POMIS Cup 2001 four days later in the second match. Ashfaq got that opportunity in the POMIS CUP 2001, due to the three match suspension faced by Ali Umar. He ended that season with only one goal. During the 2002 season Ashfaq managed to score 12 goals in his first, full team debut season for Valencia. On 21 August 2002 the youngster Ali Ashfaq claimed his first hat-trick against Veymandoo Zuvaanunge Gulhun. In the 2003 season at Club Valencia with 36 goals by his side he ended the season with the Best Player of the Season Award. He stayed with the club for the next two years and was the Top Scorer for three years in a row, scoring 37 goals in 2004 and 34 in 2005. He is currently the only player to have scored more than 30 goals in one season in Maldives. By the age of 20 he had scored 110 goals to Club Valencia.

AFC club tournaments[edit]

It all started when he played his first international club tournament(Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Qualifier 2002)against Mohun bagan on 9 October 2002 Wednesday, 1st Leg ( Calcutta, India );Ali Ashfaq (17 years one month and 3 days) leveled the contest to make it 2-2 and that was indeed Ali Ashfaq's 12th goal for Valencia that year.[4]

AFC CUP glory started on 2004; which was the first AFC cup tournament for him and he scored 3 goals against the Happy Valley. First two goals Ali Ashfaq (18 years 7 month) scored on April 6, 2004 and the third goal scored against the same team on April 21, 2004.

2004:scored 3 goals; 2005: scored 1goal; 2006: scored 1 goal; 2007: scored 1 goal goal; 2009: scored 1 goals; 2010: scored 5 goals; 2011: scored 2 goal; 2013: scored 9 goals

New Radiant Sports Club[edit]

For the 2006 season, Ashfaq joined the New Radiant SC, who finished third place in the 2005 AFC Cup the previous year. In a team that included other notable players like Ibrahim Fazeel, Ali Umar, Sobah Mohamed and Ahmed Thoriq, Ashfaq could not maintain his high goal-scoring rate, and lost the Golden Boot to his teammate Fazeel. But he managed to score more than 40 goals during his time with the New Radiant. He played remarkably well and helped the Blues win many titles.

Brunei DPMM FC[edit]

In October 2007 Ashfaq and Fazeel both moved to Brunei DPMM FC, which competed in the Malaysian Super League. He was praised by the Malaysian media for his impressive performances. he made 7 appearances in which he scored twice. However he was reported home-sick and wanting to come back to Maldives. In 2008 he transferred from DPMM FC to the Maldivian VB Sports Club for a transfer fee of €13000.

VB Sports Club[edit]

He joined VB Sports Club, and became the captain. In his first season, he couldn't manage to show his best potential. But in the second season with VB Sports he returned to the stage, scoring 33 goals for the club, and played a major role in winning VB Sports its first ever League Title. In 2009 he was named Best Player of the Maldives for the third time, and Top Scorer and Season's Best Player. In the 2010 season, due to numerous suspensions and injuries, caused him to miss a big part of the season, but still managed to score 30 goals. It was the first year in which, VB won the President's Cup. In the final, Ashfaq scored four goals, and made one assist in the 5–3 win over the local rivals Victory SC.In the 2011 season he scored 28 goals.

Controversies[edit]

From mid-2010 there were rumors that Ashfaq was having problems with VB Sports Club, and had started to miss practice sessions. The rumors were not believed until 25 February 2011, when VB announced that Ashfaq had been stripped of the captaincy only a few days after the club had won the Milo Charity Shield. Ashfaq said, "After yesterday’s practice I was informed that I am no longer the captain. Don’t know the reason now. But after the last season, I suggested the club to give the armband to someone else. I told them I have been wearing it for the last three seasons and believed it’s time for someone else to take the responsibility. But the club refused at that time and told that I should keep the band".[5]

Ashfaq then went missing shortly before the team went to Indonesia for the AFC Cup 2011 opener against Sriwijaya F.C., and the club failed to locate him before their departure. According to Haveeru news, Ashfaq said later that his reason for not going was that he considered the club to have restricted his rights.[citation needed]

Return to New Radiant[edit]

Ashfaq rejoined New Radiant SC on 19 December 2011 after being released by VB. In 2012 he scored 23 goals, and so far in this year he has scored a remarkable 40 goals and is still counting, leveling terms with his previous record of 39 goals in one single season. He scored 5 goals against Persibo of Indonesia (2013 AFC Cup),

PDRM FC[edit]

Friendlies

10 December 2013, he scored his first goal for PDRM FC in a friendly match against Penjara, where the match ended with 2-0 for PDRM FA. He continued his impressive scoring form with PDRM FA in pre-season tour held in Indonesia from 12 December 2013 to 19 December 2013. He managed to score one goal in each match against Persitara North Jakarta and Kwarta FC. Also he scored twice (one goal from the spot) against Persires Bali Devata FC in the last match of the pre-season tour.

SEASON (2014)

21 January 2014, Ashfaq scored his first competitive goal for PDRM FC in 2014 Malaysia FA Cup match against Putrajaya SPA FC.27 January 2014, Ashfaq scored his first league goal against Football Association of Penang. 14 February 2014, In a 2014 Malaysia Premier League match, Ashfaq scored his first hatrick for PDRM FC against Perlis FA.28 March 2014, In a 2014 Malaysia Premier League match, Ashfaq scored his second hatrick for PDRM FC against Kedah FA.Finally on 20 june 2014, Ali Ashfaq won the malaysian premire league 2014 by beating Negeri Sembilan FA and become the first maldivian player to win a title in abroad.

International career[edit]

Ashfaq became captain of the Senior Maldives national football team at the age of 23, in 2009. He has won numerous awards for his skills. Ashfaq is mostly well known for his dribbling ability, agility, speed, shot accuracy and powerful shots. He is the youngest player ever to score for the Senior Maldives National Football Team (four goals against Mongolia in 2003) when he was 18 years, 2 months and 27 days and the first to score two hat-tricks for the national side.

Ashfaq lost his place for the 2003 SAFF Championship National Squad to his fellow national team striker Ahmed Thoriq. Ashfaq's first SAFF Championship was the 2005 South Asian Football Federation Gold Cup in Karachi. He managed to score two goals against Afghanistan and one against Sri Lanka in the group stage. Maldives were knocked out by India in the semi-final.

Maldives and Sri Lanka co-hosted 2008 SAFF Championship, in which Maldives won their first ever SAFF Championship title. Despite his goalless run throughout the tournament, Ashfaq assisted six goals for the side and was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. As a result, he was included in the list of www.goal.com's Asia's top ten performers of 2008.

In the 2009 SAFF Championship, Ashfaq as the team captain scored three goals. Maldives lost the title to India in the final after penalties. Ashfaq was the runner-up to Most Valuable Player of the tournament and but was voted the best player of the tournament by the Bangladeshi media.

The 2011 SAFF Championship was hosted by India, and all the matches took place in Delhi. The Maldivian side went to the tournament with high hopes after replacing their Argentine coach Diego Cruciani with their previous 2009 coach Istavan Urbanyi. Maldives with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh was placed in what was called the Group of Death. Maldives' first match was against Nepal. In the final minutes of the first half, Ashfaq scored with an brilliant world-class long range shot, which was also praised by the international media as the best goal of the tournament. The match ended in a draw. The Maldives–Pakistan match also concluded as a draw, but was criticized for an average performance. Maldives were knocked out in the semifinal by the eventual winners, India. Ashfaq was included in the "Eastern promise: Ten to watch in 2012" shortlist by John Duerden of www.espnstar.com.

In 2013 AFC Cup he scored his 300th goal of his career in the second-leg against Persibo Bojonegoro at home.[6] He had scored 5 goals against Persibo Bojonegoro in the earlier encounter. No other player except Lionel Messi and Ashfaq was able to score 5 goals in a continental tournament . Ashfaq has also managed to score in every AFC CUP that he participated, since 2004, becoming the top scorer of Maldives in the competition, also becoming the first Maldivian player to score five goals in two consecutive AFC CUP tournament.

Maldives played their first friendly match of 2013 against Pakistan in which the Maldivian drew. However in the second match Maldives won by 3 goals, out of 3 Ashfaq scored 2. His 1st goal was the most notable as he dribbled past 3 defenders and the goal keeper as well.

In the 2013 SAFF Championship held in Nepal, Ashfaq scored 6 (double hat-trick) vs Sri Lanka.[7] Maldives won the match by 10-0, breaking their own record of winning with the biggest margin set in a 9-1 win against Afghanistan in 2005. In the 10-0 thumping of Sri Lanka, Ali Ashfaq beat Lionel Messi's record of scoring 5 goals in a continental tournament match. Moreover, Ashfaq set himself another record by being the all time top scorer of SAFF Championship with 14 goals in total. He continued his fantastic form and scored 4 in the 8-2 thumping of Bhutan.[8] With this, Ashfaq has 18 goals in the SAFF Championship.

In the opening match of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup against Myanmar Ashfaq set up Mohammad Umair for a goal and scored the final goal himself in a 3-2 defeat.[9] He continued his fine form with two goal in a 2-0 win over Kyrgyzstan.[10]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list the Maldives goal tally first.

Individual Honours[edit]

  • Ashfaq named as World's Best 2nd Top Goal Scorer of 2013 by the IFFHS
  • Haveeru Maldivian Footballer of the year: 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011
  • FAM Player of the Year: 2004, 2009, 2011 (2nd Place)
  • Top Scorer of the Season: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013
  • Fans favourite player of South Asia in 2009
  • SAFF Championship Most Valuable Player: 2008
  • SAFF Championship Top scorer 2013
  • SAFF Championship All time top scorer (18 goals)
  • New Radiant SC's Best Player of the season: 2013
  • New Radiant SC's Best Goal of the season (2013) against Persibo of Indonesia in the AFC Cup
  • New Radiant SC's Excellence Award: 2013
  • New Radiant SC's Supporters Player of the year: 2013

References[edit]

External links[edit]