Rabiu Ibrahim

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Rabiu Ibrahim
Rabiu ibrahim.jpg
Personal information
Full name Rabiu Ibrahim
Date of birth (1991-03-15) 15 March 1991 (age 23)
Place of birth Kano, Nigeria
Height 1.69 m (5 ft 6 12 in)
Playing position Attacking Midfielder
Club information
Current team
AS Trenčín
Number 10
Youth career
2004–2007 Gateway
2007–2009 Sporting CP
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2010 Sporting CP 0 (0)
2009–2010 Real Massamá (loan) 1 (0)
2011 PSV 2 (0)
2012–2013 Celtic 1 (0)
2013–2014 Kilmarnock 16 (0)
2014– AS Trenčín 1 (0)
National team
2007 Nigeria U17 7 (3)
2009 Nigeria U20 6 (3)
2011– Nigeria U23 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 August 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 30 April 2013

Rabiu Ibrahim (born 15 March 1991) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a attacking midfielder for Fortuna Liga club AS Trenčín.

Club career[edit]


Ibrahim was born in Kano. In the summer of 2007 he signed for Sporting Clube de Portugal for 450,000 in a joint ownership agreement with his previous club, Gateway FC.[1] Shortly afterwards, it was reported that Premier League sides Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal[2] were interested in signing him,[3][4] but nothing came of it.

In late 2007, the youngster was included by World Soccer in its 50 Most Exciting Teen Footballers list[5] and, in March of the following year, he was featured by InsideFutbol.com in an article on young African footballers alongside the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Mario Balotelli and John Obi Mikel.[6] In January 2009, he made Goal.com's list of 10 African Players to Watch,[7] and The Times' Football's Top 50 Rising Stars.[8]

With Sporting, Ibrahim participated in the 2008 Bellinzona Under-19 International Tournament, with the Portuguese eventually winning the trophy. In the competition, in which he was eventually voted as the best player, he was deployed as a classic number 10 in a 4–2–3–1 system; one year later, he again led the Lisbon powerhouse to the final stage of the same tournament.[9]

In October 2009 Ibrahim twice rejected Sporting's offer of a professional contract,[10] and was at that time sent on loan to Real Sport Clube in the third division. In January 2010 he drew interest from Scottish Premier League giants Celtic,[11] but the deal never materialised due to undisclosed reasons believed to involve work permit issues.[12]

In the summer of 2010, Ibrahim left Sporting as a free agent. Subsequently, Dutch side VVV-Venlo tried to sign him in partnership with a United Kingdom-based consortium, but the negotiations broke down due to financial issues.[13] In December, shortly after Damien Comolli was appointed director of football at Anfield, the player was again linked to Liverpool.[14]


In January 2011, Ibrahim went on trial with Eerste Divisie outfit Telstar through an investment group.[15] After performing well in an friendly game against PSV Eindhoven, described as one of the best players in the match by the team's coach,[16] he was quickly offered a contract, pending a valid work permit from the Royal Dutch Football Association.[17]

However, Telstar could not afford to sign Ibrahim even with the help of private investors.[18] Subsequently he went on trial with PSV, scoring twice in a 2–0 win against the club's B-team in a practice match – the club's manager, Fred Rutten, said of the player: "Ibrahim is fast, technically skilled, physically strong and has a good sense of field position, there is something in that boy".[19] Shortly after, on 11 March 2011, he signed a three-year contract with the Eredivisie powerhouse.[20]

In December 2011 Ibrahim's agent reached a mutual agreement with PSV to terminate the player's contract, due to limited first team action.[21]


On 18 January 2012 Celtic announced that, after a successful trial period, they had agreed terms to sign Ibrahim on a three and-a-half-year contract, pending a work permit application which was granted on the 23rd.[22] He revealed that he turned a move to clubs in England and Germany to join the Glasgow side, believing it could help him restore his reputation.[23]

On 3 May Ibrahim made his debut, coming on as a 74th minute substitute in a 1–0 home win against St. Johnstone: his cross gave striker Gary Hooper the chance to fire home, but his effort was chalked off for offside.[24]


On 2 January 2013, Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels confirmed that Ibrahim had signed a two-year contract with the club on a free transfer. The 21-year-old decided to move to the Rugby Park club in search of regular first-team football;[25] he also stated his choice was due to the fact his new team had a similar style to that of FC Barcelona,[26] whilst Shiels said that the move was good for the player's career, and that he would attempt to 'get inside his head' to help him find his form.[27]

Ibrahim made his debut for the East Ayrshire team two weeks after signing, coming on as a substitute for Paul Heffernan in a goalless draw against Dundee United.[28] In 2012-13 season, Ibrahim featured more at the start of the season. However, his playing time was overshadowed by injuries when Ibrahim collapsed during a 2-0 win over Ross County in the 35th minutes on 19 October 2013. Ibrahim "was taken off on a stretcher and taken to University Hospital Crosshouse, a five-minute drive from Rugby Park."[29] Since then, Ibrahim mostly spent on the bench and in January, Ibrahim was released, along with Reuben Gabriel.[30]

International career[edit]

Ibrahim was a member of the Nigerian under-17s in the 2007 FIFA World Cup in South Korea, scoring in the first match against France, the national team that eventually won the competition;[31] before the tournament, he had been dubbed the new Jay-Jay Okocha,[32] and helped the team win that year's African U-17 Championship held in Togo, scoring twice against Eritrea in the group stage (8–0).[33]

Aged 16, he was included in the senior team squad by German coach Berti Vogts for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations,[34] alongside U17 teammate Haruna Lukman.[35] However, a groin injury prevented him from participating in the tournament.[36]

In 2009 Ibrahim helped Nigeria win bronze in the African Youth Championship in Rwanda, scoring against Côte d'Ivoire and South Africa,[37][38] with the national team booking a place in that year's FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he appeared in three matches, scoring against Germany in the 2–3 round-of-16 loss;[31] in addition to his six goals in the youth levels, he also provided many assists.[12]

In the following years, Ibrahim continued to be closely watched by the senior national team's coaches, with Samson Siasia claiming in the media in April 2010 he was one of only two players who could solve Nigeria's attacking midfield problems.[39][40] Siasia was appointed in November 2010[41] and the player was called up to his first senior camp ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, but the manager in charge was now coach Stephen Keshi.



Club statistics[edit]

As of 10 November 2013
Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
App Goals Assists App Goals Assists App Goals Assists App Goals Assists App Goals Assists
PSV 2011–12 2 0 0 2 1 1 4 1 1
Total 2 0 0 2 1 1 4 1 1
Celtic 2011–12 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2012–13 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Total 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Kilmarnock 2012–13 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 1
2013–14 8 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 11 0 1
Total 16 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 17 0 2
Career Total 19 0 2 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 23 1 3

Personal life[edit]

Ibrahim is a practising Muslim, and observes fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan.[42]


  1. ^ "Oferta pública de subscrição – Prospecto" [Public offer for subscription – Prospect] (pdf) (in Portuguese). Sporting CP. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Arsenal, interest for Rabiu Ibrahim; Football Press, 7 October 2007
  3. ^ Fergie chases Rabiu; Daily Mirror, 20 September 2007
  4. ^ Papers: Boss eyes whizz-kid; Manchester United, 20 September 2007
  5. ^ Top 50 Most Exciting Teen Footballers (2007); Soccer Lens, 29 November 2007
  6. ^ African players with eyes on world domination; Inside Futbol, March 2008
  7. ^ Ten African players to watch in 2009; Goal.com, 1 January 2009
  8. ^ Football's top 50 rising stars; The Times, 12 January 2009
  9. ^ PSV set to help Ibrahim Rabiu out of the wilderness; Inside Futbol, 10 March 2011
  10. ^ Nigeria's Rabiu Ibrahim rejects Sporting CP's pro deal; Goal.com, 4 October 2009
  11. ^ Celtic interested in the African Messi; BBC, January 2010
  12. ^ a b Rabiu Ibrahim – 19-year-old starlet tracked by Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United currently a free agent; IM Scouting, 11 December 2010
  13. ^ Rabiu Ibrahims Dutch move fails; African Football, 15 August 2010
  14. ^ Liverpool wonderkid target now available on free; Give Me Football, 11 December 2010
  15. ^ Telstar will contract super talent Ibrahim Rabiu (19) (ex-Sporting Lisbon)
  16. ^ Telstar hopes to get Nigerian duo after the winter
  17. ^ Telstar proudly: "This is the Rabiu Ibrahim"
  18. ^ Rabiu on trials at PSV; MTN Football, 4 March 2011
  19. ^ PSV wants to capture Nigerian Ibrahim
  20. ^ PSV free transfer student Ibrahim explains long time
  21. ^ PSV and youth international Ibrahim apart again; Soccer News, 26 December 2011
  22. ^ "Ibrahim signs Celtic contract". FIFA. 19 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "I snubbed clubs in England and Germany to join Celtic, says Rabiu Ibrahim". Daily Record. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  24. ^ "Celtic 1–0 St Johnstone". BBC Sport. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "Kilmarnock have signed Celtic midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim". Sky Sports. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "Rabiu Ibrahim: I chose Kilmarnock because they played like Barcelona against Celtic". Daily Record. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  27. ^ "Kenny Shields plans to 'get inside his head' to find the best of Rabiu Ibrahim". Daily Record. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "Rabiu Ibrahim debuts for Kilmarnock". MTN Football. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  29. ^ "Kilmarnock star Rabiu Ibrahim still in hospital after collapsing in Rugby Park win over Ross County". Daily Record. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  30. ^ "Nigerian Gabriel Reuben released by Kilmarnock". BBC Sport. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  31. ^ a b Rabiu IbrahimFIFA competition record
  32. ^ Nigeria (NGA); FIFA.com
  33. ^ African U17 round-up; BBC Sport, 11 March 2007
  34. ^ Anichebe out of Nigeria squad; Sky Sports, 11 December 2007
  35. ^ Vogts dumps Anichebe – Picks Haruna Lukman, Rabiu Ibrahim; All Africa, 12 December 2007
  36. ^ Rabiu gets Super Eagles recall; All Africa, 23 September 2009
  37. ^ Nigeria, South Africa into AYC semis; BBC Sport, 24 January 2009
  38. ^ Ghana win African Youth Champs; BBC Sport, 1 February 2009
  39. ^ Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu tips Rabiu Ibrahim for glory; Goal.com, 10 August 2009
  40. ^ Siasia makes case for Rabiu Ibrahim; Africa Plays, 21 April 2010
  41. ^ Samson Siasia is appointed Nigeria's new coach; BBC Sport, 4 November 2010
  42. ^ "Allan Johnston keen to ensure Kilmarnock avoid transfer 'mistakes'". STV. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 

External links[edit]