Mubarik Yusif might not be the player, who gets fans on the edge of their seats with excitement just yet, but the centre-back is starting to make a name for himself in Ghana- and he could be on his way to becoming a Kotoko legend soon after signing a three-year deal with the Porcupine Warriors.
So just who is Mubarik Yusif, and what can Kotoko fans expect from their latest new recruit?
The Journey So Far
Born into a world of poverty in a society plagued with crime-laden favelas, Mubarik Yusif spent his youth playing in the streets and learning to live by a different set of rules in Aboabo, a suburb of Kumasi.
Standing at six and one inch tall, he started his career with Zebra FC; a colts in the Kumasi metropolis before joining Kumasi Cornerstones, a second tier side before attracting scouts of Liberty Professionals and subsequently earned a move to the Dansoman based club with whom he spent two seasons before joining Ashanti Gold SC.
He is a versatile defender
Described as the epitome of a modern centre-back by numerous reports by keen followers of the Ghanaian top-flight, Yusif has all the attributes to succeed at a top club.
Standing at 6'1, the 23-year-old brings an imposing combination of physicality and electric pace - some would even argue that his speed is his most impressive attribute.
Having spent a large part of his youth as a defensive midfielder, Yusif is also comfortable bursting forward on the pitch. He knows how to find vacant space and is rarely scared of stepping up into it, and he's comfortable enough with the ball at his feet to make something happen.
He's an engine
Blending the physical, technical and mental means, his wherewithal to read the game and execute calculated passes with the utmost confidence saw him play all thirty premier league games- playing every single minute and surprisingly without being booked- becoming one of two players chalking this- the other being Vincent Atinga then with Accra Hearts of Oak in the 2016/17 season.
In the truncated 2019/2020 season, he capped fourteen appearances for the Miners.
He models his game on Alessandro Nesta
Yusif spends a lot of his free time watching footage of other centre-backs to try and find things to add to his game, and he told kickgh.com that one player he enjoys watching is Italy and Milan legend Alessandro Nesta.
"Growing up, Nesta was one player I looked up to," he said.
His style of play is perfect for Maxwell Konadu
It takes more than just a good footballer to make it at Kotoko player has to be able these days- a player has to be able to adapt to Konadu’s style of play and footballing philosophy.
There’s no danger of Yusif falling foul there. For more than just a pretty footballer, the defender has an intense work ethic and his versatility will ensure he avail himself to any role assigned him by the manager.