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Monday, 22 February 2021 23:01

Al Saed Salifu: Meet Great Olympics’ washbuckling shot-stopper destined for stardom Featured

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If you have not heard of Al Saed Salifu’s name before, don’t fuss – you soon will. Since making his 2020/2021 league appearance against Asante Kotoko SC, he has quickly established himself as one of Ghana’s hottest prospects, courtesy of some encouraging laced performances for Accra Great Olympics. He is regarded by many Ghanaian football pundits to be the future of Ghana football.


Born in Anum- Asikuma, the agile goal custodian cut his teeth with Asikuma Black Scorpions now rechristened FC Royal Crown, a colts club in his vicinity. He played the game with a bravery and boldness that was rare in goalkeepers of any age or stature, and he quickly grew into one of the hottest prospects in the country.  

A stint with lower tier side Krystal Palace Academy in Akosombo followed, before a host of impressive performances had numerous Ghanaian clubs chasing after his signature. Salifu ultimately settled on Inter Allies and joined the Accra based club at a tender age. 
“I opted for Inter Allies at the expense of other premiership clubs because I needed to develop as a footballer and thus needed to align myself with a club that would help me develop.” He told
Salifu admits he couldn’t have wished for a better footballing education than what he has had at the Academy.  "I have enjoyed every minute of playing football at the academy; it is great being a kid and doing something that you really love with some of the best footballers from across the country.”
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“It is great to be part of it, I’m really grateful to them for giving me the chance to spend my formative years there- to learn football and to learn to be a good person.” He chimed in
Desperate to play, the then teenager found himself warming the bench of his new club in first few games of the season but was never deterred by the circumstance but rather hoped to gain valuable first team experience and ultimately cement a permanent position. He eventually did become a key cog of the Inter Allies setup till his departure in 2019. 
His nonchalance and aplomb during the hard times is the reason why Al Saed Salifu is one of the most talked about goalkeepers in the Ghanaian elite league and an integral member of Accra Great Olympics.
The 23-year-old’s major strength is his ability to be in the right position in order to cover a large portion of the goal especially when opposing forwards are bearing down on goal. Another  strength of his is his distribution. 
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He averages 5.0 successful goal kicks per game and 4.1 throw outs. For a team like Annor Walkers’s Great Olympics side, who put emphasis on attractive football, the benefit of having a goalkeeper who can play from the back, cut out individual errors and provide an imposing presence will be invaluable. 
In terms of anticipation, Salifu is one of the best around. He thinks like a striker and tries to anticipate if the opposition forward will dribble or shoot, and how he will shoot: close to the ground, in the air, with power, and in what direction.
His athleticism and reactions are fine tuned to the point of near correction, his shoulders have broadened and his skills at the ball at his feet can rival even the most fleet footed of midfielders and regularly joins attack and pushes forward when his team are in search of a goal. 
His excellence comes in his incredible consistency: minute after minute, game after game, month after month. Rarely is he pulled up for individual criticism. Mistakes are rare. Simply, he is a centre-back’s dream; a commanding presence who generally does his job with consummate ease, and who has kept five clean sheets in ten league games with an MVP this campaign since replacing Benjamin Asare and one of the reasons why the Wonder club is flourishing. He has conceded 8 goals so far.
The teenager idolises former Real Madrid and Spain legend Iker Casillas and hopes to emulate his good works and etch his name in football folklore. 
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“Casillas is my idol. I really want to be like him. A lot of people say my style of play is reminiscent of his and that excites me a lot. I know getting to his level won’t be an easy feat but I am determined to do my little and much to ensure that my efforts get recognised globally.”
The motivated, ambitious and tenacious youngster is indeed a delight to watch and would surely be of immense benefit to the nation one day.  
It would be a travesty beyond compare if Al Saed Salifu does not play to his fullest potential.
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