Ashfaq with New Radiant in 2016
|Date of birth||6 September 1985|
|Place of birth||Malé, Maldives|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2008–2011||VB Sports Club||48||(61)|
|2018||TC Sports Club|
|2019–2020||Club Green Streets|
|2020||TC Sports Club|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 03:02, 9 January 2021 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 November 2019
Ali Ashfaq (Dhivehi: އަލީ އަޝްފާގު; born 6 September 1985) is a Maldivian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Maldivian club Club Valencia and captains the Maldives national team. Nicknamed "Man of Steel" (Dhivehi: ދަގަނޑޭ, romanized: Dhagandey), he is regarded as one of the best players in the South Asian region. A prolific and individualistic goalscorer, he is a free-kick specialist and a clinical finisher. His trademark style of scoring is beating the defenders and rounding off the keeper to score. He is considered as the best Maldivian footballer ever, most notably when he was named as the "World's 2nd Best Top Goal Scorer" in 2013 by IFFHS. He was also named as South Asia's Best Player in 2014 by eultimategoal.com. In March 2016, Ashfaq scored his 50th goal for Maldives.
Ashfaq had been noticed by some big clubs in Europe like Portugal's S.L. Benfica, FC Porto, Turkish club Bursaspor, and many other clubs within Asia, but he refused those offers. However, he is the first ever Maldivian footballer to play abroad, and the only player to win a title with a foreign club. In November 2003, Ashfaq was honored with the most prestigious awards a Maldivian footballer would get, in the age of 18 – Maldivian Footballer of the Year and Golden Boot Award in 2003 season. With Club Valencia, New Radiant, VB Sports Club and PDRM FA, he has won the Dhivehi League ten times, six Maldives FA Cups, four President's Cups, two Maldives Cup Winners' Cups, three Maldivian Charity Shields, two POMIS Cups and one Malaysia Premier League.
Ashfaq began his professional career with Club Valencia, where he played for five years. In 2001, he won his first trophy, Dhivehi League. He was crowned as the top scorer of Maldivian football season in 2003, 2004 and 2005 consecutively. In 2006, he signed for New Radiant and won various trophies and he was named as Haveeru Best Footballer of the year in 2007 in his two-year period with New Radiant. Ashfaq moved to Brunei's DPMM FC in October 2007, and he joined VB Sports Club after two months and stayed with them until 2011. He again re-joined New Radiant in 2012, and during his time, he completed his 300th career goal and won all the domestic cups with the club in 2013 and moved to PDRM FA for 2014 season. In November 2014, Ashfaq won the Best Import Player Award in the Malaysia National Football Awards, for his outstanding performance with PDRM FA in 2014 Malaysia Premier League. Ashfaq was the vice-captain of PDRM for 2016 season and made the record of first ever Maldivian to captain a club abroad.
Ashfaq made his international debut for Maldives in December 2003, at the age of 18. He has since been capped 80 times. Ashfaq is Maldives' all-time top scorer with 53 goals. He scored his first international goal in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mongolia, he scored four times in the match. In 2008, he won the Most Valuable Player award in 2008 SAFF Championship. He was among the Top 10 Players of Asia in 2008 and 2009. He also was shortlisted among the Top 10 Players to watch by espnfc.com in 2012. He took over captaincy in 2009, and he led Maldives to the semi-finals at 2009 SAFF Championship. In September 2013, he became the all-time top scorer of the SAFF Championship after scoring 10 goals in the 2013 SAFF Championship with altogether of 18 goals. In May 2014, Ashfaq won his first medal as the captain of Maldives as they finished third in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup. On 31 December 2015, Ashfaq concluded his last SAFF tournament from the semi finals, remaining as the all-time top scorer of the SAFF Suzuki Cup with 20 goals.
Ashfaq was born in Malé, the capital 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 Inter school Football Tournament those years. The local football team, Club Valencia, took an interest in him, and in 2001 joined Valencia and thus started his professional football career.
2001–02: Beginning of club career
On 26 October 2001, Ashfaq played his very first match in 2001 POMIS Cup tournament against Thailand's BEC Tero Sasana FC, wearing the Club Valencia jersey for the very first time. Ashfaq got the opportunity in 2001 POMIS Cup, due to the three match suspension faced by Ali Umar. In that match, he created a wonderful chance to score a goal as he edged past two defenders and goalkeeper, but he left for Ali Shiham to score.
Ashfaq scored his first goal for the club after beating the veteran sweeper Kappi and his powerless shot went into the left corner of the net in the second match of 2001 POMIS Cup as Valencia beat Victory Sports Club by 1–0 on 30 October 2001. In the semi final game of 2001 POMIS Cup, Ashfaq assisted Ali Shiham to score Valencia's first goal against FC Kochin of India. Valencia won the match by 2–0 against Indian side and guaranteed a spot from the POMIS Cup final that year.
On 8 June 2002, Ashfaq netted his first goal of the season on their 5–0 win against Eagles. Ashfaq played his first international club tournament against Mohun Bagan of India in 2002–03 AFC Champions League qualification on 9 October 2002. On the first leg in Kolkata, Ashfaq leveled the game when Valenica was 2–1 down.
On 21 August 2002, the youngster claimed his first hat-trick against Veymandoo Zuvaanunge Gulhun. Ashfaq managed to score 12 goals in his first full season for Club Valencia.
2003–05: Best player award and top scorer for three years in a row
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.
On 6 April 2004, Ashfaq played his very first match in an AFC Cup tournament against Hong Kong's Happy Valley AA and he netted a brace on that game which Valencia won by 2–1 in Maldives. However, Happy Valley beat Valencia in the second leg at their home by 3–1 on 21 April 2004. Though, Ashfaq managed to get his name on the score-sheet on that day.
He was the top scorer for three years in a row, scoring 37 goals in 2004 and 34 in 2005. By the age of 20, he had scored 110 goals for Club Valencia.
New Radiant Sports Club
For the 2006 season, Ashfaq joined New Radiant, 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
In October 2007, Ashfaq moved to Brunei DPMM FC on a two-month contract, which competed in the Malaysia Super League.
On 18 November 2007, Ashfaq made his debut against Perak FA in the league which ended in favor of Perak by 2 goals. Ashfaq scored his first goal and created two chances in their win over Negeri Sembilan by 5 goals to 1 on 21 November 2007. On New Year's Day 2008, Ashfaq scored a trademark goal against Perlis FA after beating the keeper, the match drew by 1–1.
He was praised by the Malaysian media for his impressive performances. In January 2008, after 7 appearances in DPMM, he was transferred to the Maldivian VB Sports Club for a transfer fee of €13000. The Brunei side tried their best to hold the Maldivian striker but he chose to return to his homeland.
VB Sports Club
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, he returned to the stage, scoring 33 goals for the club, and played a major role in winning VB, their first ever league title. In 2009, he was named Best Player of the Maldives for the third time, as well as top scorer.
In 2010 season, due to numerous suspensions and injuries, he missed 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.
Ashfaq kicked off 2011 season with two goals in the Milo Charity Shield game against Victory on 13 February 2011. Their first victory of the season came on 30 March 2011, in Dhivehi League against New Radiant by 3–1, which Ashfaq managed to score once in the match. On 7 April 2011, he scored his first hat-trick of the season against Club Eagles on their 9–0 win in the league. VB were the champions of 2011 Dhivehi League with 47 points while he scored 14 goals in the league.
On 11 May 2011, Ashfaq scored his only goal of 2011 AFC Cup against Sông Lam Nghệ An in Vietnam. VB didn't advance to the knock-out stage of the tournament that year. In FA Cup final, Ashfaq netted four times to help VB win the championship after beating Maziya by 6–4 on 31 October 2011. In 2011 season, he scored 22 goals for the club.
For his impressive performance throughout the season, Haveeru named Ashfaq as Maldivian footballer of the year, while he also received 2nd best player of the season award from the Football Association of Maldives.
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".
Ashfaq then went missing shortly before the team went to Indonesia for the 2011 AFC Cup 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.
Return to New Radiant
Ashfaq rejoined New Radiant on 19 December 2011, after being released by VB Sports Club. In season 2012, New Radiant faced VB Sports Club in the first game of the league and Ashfaq managed to score a hat-trick against his former club. Ashfaq helped New Radiant win the league and qualify for the 2013 AFC Cup.
New Radiant also won the President's Cup title after beating Victory Sports Club on penalty shoot-out. Ashfaq netted just one goal in President's Cup, and he totally scored 22 goals for New Radiant in 2012.
2013: New Radiant's Invincibles
Ashfaq had a challenging, impressive but also one of the successful season with New Radiant in 2013. Ashfaq's first goal of the many came on his first game of the season. He scored the opener from the spot in the FA Charity Shield victory over Maziya by 3–1. In the first game of the league, Ashfaq scored 7 goals for the blues in their win against VB Sports Club by 4 goals to nil.
On 5 March 2013, New Radiant played Sun Hei SC of Hong Kong in the 2013 AFC Cup. Mohamed Umair scored the only goal for New Radiant from a good ball delivered by Ashfaq. New Radiant packed three points in home and departed to Indonesia on 12 March 2013, for their second match in AFC Cup against Persibo Bojonegoro. Ashfaq scored five times against the Indonesian side and caught worldwide attention. On 3 April 2013, Yangon United defeated New Radiant by 2 goals in Myanmar.
Ashfaq suffered a soft tissue injury (left hamstring muscle) and missed two matches in a row in the 2013 AFC Cup against Sun Hei SC and Yangon United. Ashfaq recovered from injury and came back for New Radiant on 16 April 2013 against Eagles in the league and scored once. On 1 May 2013, Ashfaq scored a hat-trick against Persibo Bojonegoro at home. He also scored his 300th career goal in the 80th minute from the spot in the same match. He had scored 5 times 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 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. New Radiant beat Malaysia's Selangor by 2–0 in the extra time and qualified to the Round of 16. New Radiant was knocked out of the tournament after losing to the champions of 2012 AFC Cup, Kuwait SC from both legs in an aggregate of 12–2. Ashfaq scored 1 out of 2 goals against Kuwait SC after penetrating the defense line in the first leg in home.
New Radiant announced just before the President's Cup final that the club has decided not to renew the contract with Ashfaq as he wanted to play for a foreign club in 2014. For the last game of Ashfaq before departing to Malaysia's PDRM FA, many supporters were present at the National Stadium to bid farewell for the national captain. Ashfaq scored one last goal for New Radiant in the final minutes of the game. Maziya was defeated by a score of 4–2.
Throughout the season, Ashfaq scored remarkable 44 goals for the blues and won the best player and top scorer award in that year. New Radiant finished the season with a 100% winning record.
2014: MPL Champions and Best Foreign Player in Malaysia
On 10 December 2013, Ashfaq scored his first unofficial goal for PDRM FA in a friendly match against Penjara, where the match ended with 2–0 for PDRM. He continued his impressive scoring form with PDRM 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. He also scored twice against Persires Bali Devata FC in a friendly game. PDRM participated in an invitational tournament "Trofeo Persija 2014" on 28 December 2014. PDRM lost two games of the tournament against host team, Persija Jakarta by 2–1 and Arema Cronus by 2–0. He was already adjusting to the game of PDRM on the tournament.
Ashfaq made his official debut for PDRM on 21 January 2014 in Malaysia FA Cup against KL Spa. He also scored his very first competitive goal for PDRM FA in that match. On 27 January 2014, Ashfaq scored his first goal in Malaysia Premier League against Penang while PDRM beat them by 7–1. On 14 February 2014, he scored his first hat-trick in the league against Perlis. His second hat-trick in the league came on 28 March 2014 against Kedah. PDRM released Ashfaq on 19 April 2014 to participate in AFC Challenge Cup with Maldives national football team. He returned to Malaysia to join the club on 31 May 2014. He missed two matches from the Malaysia Premier League on that period.
On 20 June 2014, Ashfaq won the 2014 Malaysia Premier League with PDRM and became the first ever Maldivian player to win a title in abroad. He scored 17 goals for PDRM in 20 matches in the league. He continued to impress Malaysian football fans later in the Malaysia Cup as he scored twice against the Super League side, Sime Darby in their first match in the tournament. On 20 August 2014, PDRM surprisingly won the second game of the
group stage against Malaysian football giants, Selangor in a score-line of 2–0 while Ashfaq scored broke the deadlock from the spot for a foul on him. Ashfaq netted thrice in the last two games against T-Team in the group stage of Malaysia Cup and helped PDRM to finish the group at the top. PDRM were knocked out of the tournament after losing to Pahang on aggregate score of 3–2 in Malaysia Cup quarter-finals.
Ashfaq renewed his contract with PDRM for two years on 20 November 2014.
2015–16 Top 3 Best Foreign Players in Malaysia & final half-year
PDRM camped in Hong Kong in December 2014 and played two friendly matches against Pegasus and Hong Kong Rangers. Ashfaq managed to score against Pegasus FC. In January 2015, PDRM travelled to Maldives for an invitation from Maldives FA to play in the 2015 POMIS Cup. PDRM played their first game in POMIS Cup against Ashfaq's previous club, New Radiant, and won the match by 1–0. PDRM's drew with Maziya by 2–2. In the last game on group stage, PDRM won the last game of the group stage by 1–0 after beating the Malaysia Super League side, LionsXII and secured a place from the final of POMIS Cup. PDRM came to the finals with no goal from Ashfaq. But, after an exciting game, PDRM won the final match by 5–4 after beating Maziya in the extra time with a hat-trick from Ashfaq and won the 2015 POMIS Cup title.
Ashfaq and the team were not lucky enough to kick off the league with a win. Even though they lost to LionsXII in the first game in Singapore, However, PDRM did beat the defending champions of the league, Johor Darul Ta'zim, by 1–0 at home. Ashfaq scored a brace against Kelantan as they beat The Red Warriors by 4–0 at Kota Bharu. On FA Cup Round of 32, Ashfaq broke the deadlock against Sabah while PDRM won the game by 3–0 and advanced to Round of 16 of the FA Cup. PDRM lost to Sime Darby by 4–2 on Round of 16 game. Ashfaq suffered a hamstring injury in his right leg while playing against Perak on 14 March 2015 and missed the game against Sarawak. Ashfaq came back on the field on 11 April 2015 and he managed to score a goal against Felda United FC.
On 18 April 2015, PDRM won against Sime Darby by 4–1 and Ashfaq netted twice in Selayang. PDRM kept the winning ways as they beat Terengganu at home by 3–0, with Ashfaq netting once. In match day 16, he scored the only goal for PDRM against Selangor which ended as 1–1 draw. It's again Ashfaq got injured after Selangor game and missed the match against Sarawak at Kuching. He also missed the away game against Terengganu on 22 August 2015 due to injury. Ashfaq scored the last goal for PDRM in 2015 Malaysia Super League in their win against ATM on 22 August 2015. Ashfaq scored 10 goals in 17 matches in the league.
PDRM announced that Ashfaq will stay with them for 2016 season – the final year of his contract with the club which made on 2014 for two years on 17 December 2015. PDRM played two games on their pre-season in Bangkok, against Osotspa Samut Prakan and Bangkok Glass, which they managed to draw by 1–1 and won 2–1 to Bangkok Glass.
On 13 February 2016, Ashfaq scored the only goal for PDRM to win their opening game of the season against Sarawak by 1–0. Ashfaq's second goal of the season came from the spot against Penang FA on 27 February 2016, which they drew by 2–2 in the league. In the second round of FA Cup, PDRM beat Selangor by 2–1 at home on 4 March 2016.
Ashfaq scored once in PDRM's win against Pahang FA in the league on 11 March 2016. He also managed to keep his name on the score-sheet in their 3–1 win against Terengganu. Ashfaq missed the Felda United clash which PDRM lost by 4 goals. On 4 May 2016, PDRM drew with Perak while Ashfaq played a vital role in the match for The Cops. On 21 May 2016, PDRM was defeated in Darul Aman by 2 goals to Kedah, while they managed to grab a point against Kedah in home which the game finished by 1–1 on 21 May 2016, which happened to be the last game for Ashfaq with PDRM FA.
On 24 May 2016, Ashfaq announced that he and PDRM FA had come to an mutual understanding to terminate his contract with 7 months remaining, due to an injury suffered.
Ashfaq signed the contract with Maziya on a 4-month deal on 12 July 2016 and made his debut against BG Sports in Dhivehi Premier League on 20 July 2016. Ashfaq scored his first goal for Maziya against New Radiant on 7 August 2016 and he managed to keep his name on the score-sheet against Club Valencia in the league on 13 August 2016. Ashfaq scored his third goal for the club against United Victory on their 5–1 win on 18 August 2016.
Ashfaq started his international career in 2004 being part of the Maldives senior national team.
2005–11 SAFF Championship glory and Captaincy
Ashfaq lost his place for the 2003 SAFF Championship National Squad to his fellow national team striker Ahmed Thariq. Ashfaq's first SAFF Championship was the 2005 SAFF Championship 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 Goal.com's Asia's top ten performers of 2008.
Ashfaq became the captain of Maldives national football team at the age of 23, in 2009.
During 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 New Delhi. The Maldivian side went to the tournament with high hopes after replacing their Argentine coach Diego Cruciani with their previous 2009 coach István Urbányi. 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 espnstar.com.
2013: Record breaking year
Maldives played their first friendly match of 2013 against Pakistan in which the Maldivian drew by 1–1. However, in the second match Maldives won by 3 goals, with two coming from Ashfaq. His first 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 goals against Sri Lanka. 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 this match, 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. With this, Ashfaq has 18 goals in the SAFF Championship.
2014–16: First ever AFC medal and last SAFF Championship
In the opening match of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup against Myanmar, Ashfaq set up Mohamed Umair for a goal and scored the final goal himself in a 3–2 defeat. He continued his fine form with two goals in a 2–0 win over Kyrgyzstan. In the last match of the group stage, Maldives drew 0–0 with Palestine and secured a place from semi-final. Even with the greatest skill of Ashfaq, Maldives lost to Philippines by 3–2 in extra time and had to play third place play-off. Maldives and Afghanistan fought for the third place until the 120 minutes of the game which ended as 1–1. Maldives beat Afghanistan on penalty shoot-out by 8–7 and won the first ever medal from an AFC tournament.
Maldives played Tajikistan on 26 March 2015. Ashfaq was sidelined as he was recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained in Malaysia Super League. Tajikistan beat Maldives by 2–0 at National team. In Manila, on 3 September 2015, Maldives was beaten by Philippines in a friendly game which ended as 2–0. FAM gave rest to Ashfaq on this match because he had to play competitive matches too tightly in Malaysia Super League.
Maldives were grouped alongside Qatar, China, Hong Kong and Bhutan in Group C in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (AFC) round 2. On 11 June 2015, Maldives played Qatar at home and were narrowly defeated through a 99th-minute goal by 1–0. Later on 16 June 2015, Maldives lost to Hong Kong by 2–0 away at home. Both of the matches, he was not in a good form. Ashfaq could not participate in the China game due to some personal reasons, which Maldives lost to China in a 4–0 score-line in Shenyang. On 8 October 2015, Ashfaq scored a hat-trick against Bhutan in their home and came off the pitch on 59th minute which ended as 4–3 to Maldives. Maldives lost their home game against Hong Kong by one goal on 12 November 2015.
On 24 December 2015, Maldives faced Bhutan on their first game of 2015 SAFF Championship. With 63% possession of the match, Maldives beat Bhutan 3–1 as Ashfaq scored a stunner after beating couple of defenders outside the area. In the second game of the group stage against Bangladesh, Maldives won narrowly by a 3–1 score line after scoring two goals during the late minutes of the game. Ashfaq scored a penalty against Bangladesh on 26 December 2015. Ashfaq came in to the pitch as a substitute player in the 76th minute on 28 December 2015, which Maldives lost their first game against Afghanistan by 4–1. On 31 December, Maldives got narrowly beaten by the rivals India by 3–2 in the semi finals of the SAFF Suzuki Cup and got knocked out.
On 29 March 2016, Ashfaq scored his 50th goal for Maldives against Bhutan in 2018 World Cup qualification.
Style of play
From a tactical standpoint, Ashfaq usually plays in a free attacking role, most often as a striker, and is capable of attacking on either wing or through the centre of the pitch. He is frequently cited as "South Asia's best attacking player", as well as the best Maldivian footballer ever, and is known for his dribbling ability, agility, speed, skills on the ball, and his powerful, accurate, and clinical shooting, as well as his passing accuracy. He is predominantly a left footed player, although he is also able to control the ball and finish well with his right foot. He is also a free-kick specialist.
A prolific goalscorer, he is known as an individualistic attacker. He is famous for rounding goalkeepers and scoring, and is also known for his flair in beating players during one-on-one situations and his ability to penetrate defensive lines. He is an extremely fast player, with great acceleration and good technical ability, which makes him a threat for opposing defenses during counter-attacks whenever he undertakes individual dribbling runs towards goal, usually starting from the halfway line on either side of the pitch, or even through the centrel his pace also allows him to get on the end of through balls with his runs. He is also a strong and physically powerful player, who is capable of shielding the ball from opponents. Moreover, he is capable of managing himself effectively in limited spaces, and of attracting defenders only to quickly dash out of the melee or give an assist to a free teammate.
- Exhibition matches table as of 5 November 2015
|27 May 2015||Shah Alam Stadium||Dollah Salleh||Tottenham Hotspur||1–2 (L)|
Malaysia XI vs Tottenham Hotspur
Former PDRM FA and Malaysia national football team coach, Dollah Salleh gave chance to Ashfaq to take part in the Malaysia XI match against English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur FC when FA Malaysia decided to include 4 of the foreign players currently playing in Malaysia.
"Long hailed as one of the best foreign players in Malaysia in recent years, Ashfaq will get to test his ability against arguably one of the best defenders in the Premier League, Jan Vertonghen (if both start the match as predicted). As Tottenham have strong players on both flanks, it might force Malaysia XI wingers to take on a defensive approach, leaving the Maldivian as the creative lynchpin to supply the ball to Paulo Rangel, who is likely to start the match and face the taller and more physically imposing Federico Fazio. Knowing Ashfaq, he will drift all over the place and exploit any room which is vacated by the Tottenham's marauding full-backs, so the Belgium international has to keep an eye on him."
Ashfaq played for his official number "7" on the match and he was a favorite of the match.
As expected, Ashfaq kicked off with the Malaysia's in Shah Alam Stadium. Regardless of the less balls supplied for Ashfaq during the first half, coach shifted to his original place in second half. With this change in the game, Ashfaq was brought down by Tottenham defenders for a couple of times while he was dribbling past them. He had been a threat for Tottenham's defense line, even though he couldn't find the back of the net during the 90 minutes.
Malaysia XI vs Liverpool FC
In July 2015, Ashfaq got the chance to play for Malaysia XI against English Premier League side Liverpool FC. But unfortunately, he suffered a leg injury while he was practicing in Malé with Maziya to maintain fitness during the league break.
Ashfaq became a father on 22 October 2006 following birth of a son. The child, Mishal was born in the capital of Maldives. His second son, Vishal , was born on 15 October 2014. Then it was Eashal, who was born in Malaysia on 1 July 2016.
Ashfaq met a boy with down syndrome during a practice session. He made the boy's dream come true of meeting him and gave a jersey to the boy in a function organised by New Radiant on 29 September 2013.
On 15 August 2014, Ashfaq donated one of his football boots to support the Palestine Relief Fund set by Maldivian Red Crescent. His boot was auctioned to raise funds to help the people in Palestine.
In January 2013, MILO unveiled Ashfaq as their brand ambassador in Maldives. According to Milo, under the ambassadorship program he will feature in the advertisements of Milo in the Maldives. These include TV commercials, billboards, posters and road shows and events conducted by Milo.
In May 2013, the Maldives Olympic Committee appointed Ashfaq as their sports ambassador. He also received Maldives government's green passport as he became the ambassador of Maldives Olympic Committee. "This is a great success, an honor. I will work with the government and sports associations to improve and promote the Maldives sports sector. I would like to thank senior members of the Olympic committee for this great honor. I am very pleased." – Ashfaq said to media.
- As of 11 November 2018
|Club Valencia||2001||Dhivehi League||—||—||—||—||4[d]||1||4||1|
|New Radiant||2006||Dhivehi League||11||7||3||1||2||0||6[i]||1||12[l]||6[m]||34||15|
|DPMM FC||2007–08||Malaysia Super League||7||2||—||—||—||—||7||2|
|VB Sports Club||2008||Dhivehi League||9||3||3||1||2||0||—||14||4|
|New Radiant||2012||Dhivehi League||18||21||1||0||2||1||—||—||21||22|
|PDRM FA||2014||Malaysia Premier League||20||17||4||1||6||6||—||—||30||24|
|2015||Malaysia Super League||17||10||1||1||6||3||—||4[d]||3||25||17|
|Maziya S&R||2016||Dhivehi Premier League||10||6||—||2||2||—||—||12||8|
|New Radiant||2017||Dhivehi Premier League||14||13||3||0||2||0||—||—||19||13|
|TC Sports Club||2018||Dhivehi Premier League||12||16||0||0||0||0||—||0||0||12||16|
- Includes the Maldives FA Cup and Piala Malaysia
- Includes the President's Cup and Malaysia Cup
- Includes the FA Charity Shield, Cup Winners' Cup and POMIS Cup
- All appearances in POMIS Cup
- All appearances in AFC Champions League Qualification
- one appearance in FA Charity Shield, four appearances in Cup Winners' Cup
- one appearance in FA Charity Shield, four appearances in Cup Winners' Cup, four appearances in POMIS Cup
- two goals in Cup Winners' Cup, seven goals in POMIS Cup
- All appearances in AFC Cup
- one appearance in FA Charity Shield, two appearances in Cup Winners' Cup
- All goals in Cup Winners' Cup
- seven appearances in Dhivehi League qualification, five appearances in Cup Winners' Cup
- one goal in Dhivehi League qualification, five goals in Cup Winners' Cup
- Appearance in FA Charity Shield
New Radiant Sports Club
- Maldivian FA Charity Shield: 2013
- Dhivehi League: 2006, 2012, 2013
- FA Cup: 2006, 2007, 2013
- President's Cup: 2007, 2012, 2013
VB Sports Club
- Maldivian FA Charity Shield: 2010, 2011
- Dhivehi League: 2009, 2010, 2011
- FA Cup: 2008, 2011
- President's Cup: 2010
- FAM Appreciation Award for scoring 50 goals for National Team: 2016
- Maldives National Youth Award: 2014
- www.eutimategoal.com's Best Player of South Asia: 2014
- Malaysia's Best Import Player of the Year: 2014
- Top 3 Import Players in Malaysia: 2015
- Haveeru Special Award for becoming the World's 2nd Best Top Goal Scorer of the Year: 2013
- IFFHS World's Top Goal Scorer: 2013 (23 goals)
- SAFF Championship Dream Team: 2013
- All-time Top Scorer of SAFF Championship: 2013 (18 goals)
- New Radiant SC's Supporters Player of the Year: 2013
- New Radiant SC's Excellence Award: 2013
- New Radiant SC's Best Goal of the Season: 2013 (against Persibo of Indonesia in AFC Cup)
- New Radiant SC's Best Player of the Season: 2013
- Bangladeshi Media's SAFF Championship Player of the Year: 2009
- Fans' Favorite Player of South Asia: 2009
- Top 10 Asian Players of the Year: 2008, 2009
- Most Valuable Player of SAFF Championship: 2008
- Top Scorer of SAFF Championship: 2005, 2013
- FAM Best Player of the Year: 2004, 2009, 2011 (2nd place), 2013
- Haveeru Golden Boot: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013
- Haveeru Maldivian Player of the Year: 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013
- Maldivian Top Scorer of the Season: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013
- Maldivian all-time top scorer: 464 goals
- All-time top scorer for Maldives national team: 53 goals
- Maldivian all-time top scorer in AFC Cup: 23 goals
- First Maldivian footballer to captain a club abroad: PDRM FA in 2015 Malaysia Super League
- First Maldivian player to score a double hat-trick in an international match: 6 goals (2013 SAFF Championship: Maldives 10–0 Sri Lanka)
- First Maldivian player to score a hat-trick in AFC Cup
- Only Maldivian player to win the Most Valuable Player of SAFF Championship: 2008
- First and only Maldivian player to win a tournament with a foreign club: 2014 Malaysia Premier League with PDRM FA
- Only Maldivian player to win the best player award in abroad: 2014 (Best foreign player in Malaysia)
- Youngest player to score for senior Maldives national team: 18 years
- Youngest player to score a hat-trick for senior Maldives national team: 4 goals at the age of 18 years (against Mongolia in 2003)
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