Hafiz Ibrahim: The Kano-born Ojodu FC striker who scored a hat trick at the Viareggio Cup


Young sensation Hafiz Umar Ibrahim scored a hat trick past US team Westchester United on Tuesday to send Ojodu FC into the quarterfinals of the Viareggio Cup, the world’s leading tournament for academy players.

Ojodu FC won the Round of 16 game 5-0 at the Marco Polo Sports Centre in Viareggio with additional goals from Yahya Olayemi Subair and Afafa Nlend.

The win looked comfortable for the Ojodu Tigers, who dominated play and left their less fancied opponents scrambling to make sense of the defeat.

Ibrahim, the team’s top striker, scored a penalty for his first goal in the seventh minute while be turned in an assist for Subair to add the second on 40 minutes.

He finished off a header in the second half off a cross from Sheriff Stowe to make it 3-0 and Afafa made it four following a defensive mix up by the Westchester boys.  Ibrahim then scored the fifth goal from an assist by Kolawole Abdulsamad.

It was a comprehensive thrashing for the American team whose spirit was deflated by the score line.

Who is Hafiz Ibrahim?

Born in Kano, the biggest city in northern Nigeria, Ibrahim was born on 20 December 2005. This makes hi currently 18 years old.

He plays as striker for Ojodu City FC, an amateur football club based in the Ojodu local government of Lagos State, Nigeria.

He told in an interview that he uses both feet but prefers his left. Romelu Lukaku, Luis Suarez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are his striker role models. But he feels that Belgium’s Lukaku is the player that he most closely patterns his game after.

Ibrahim was born into a poor home in Kano and he hopes to one day become a professional footballer.

“I want to help my family and the people around me,” he told “Football is what will give me the tool to help people.”

He is a big lad with a lot of responsibility on his shoulder. He hopes to one day bring his family out of poverty through football. “They have been praying for me,” he said. “And I can feel that their prayers are working. I won’t disappoint them.”

His dreams of playing professional football in Europe might soon become real as he is being scouted closely at the Viareggio Cup. He has already had opportunities tabled before his agents. With six goals thus far in the tournament, it may happen in no time.

Ibrahim speaks Hausa and Pidgin fluently.

Nigerian teams progress

All the four Nigerian teams at the Viareggio Cup have reached the quarterfinals following their wins in the Round of 16.

Beyond Limits FC. Photo by Muzamil Raji /Beyond Limits FC

Mavlon defeated Fiorentina 3-2 with a hattrick from Charles Agada, the former Golden Eaglets striker. He is the tournament’s leading scorer with seven goals.

Beyond Limits saw off the challenge of Avellino 3-1 while Alex Transformation defeated Ukrainian side Rukh 2-0 with goals from Adzuu and Madubuko.

The quarter finals fixtures to be played on Thursday, February 22, will see two Nigerian sides face off for the first time as Alex Transfiguration will meet with Mavlon.

The Viareggio Cup Quarter Finals Fixtures

Torino (Italy) vs Beyond Limits

Honved (Hungary) vs Ojodu City

Representative Serie D (Italy) vs Center National Brazzaville (Congo)

Alex Transfiguration vs Mavlon