Budu’s Corner: Why Abdul Fatawu Safiu Deserves A Place In Kwesi Appiah’s Final Afcon Squad Featured
27 May

Budu’s Corner: Why Abdul Fatawu Safiu Deserves A Place In Kwesi Appiah’s Final Afcon Squad

There is this belief that journalists wax lyrical albeit one good performance of a footballer but the recent consistent performances of Asante Kotoko’s attacker, Abdul Fatawu Safiu make such belief, a misnomer. The lad is in superb form and is one of the reasons why Asante Kotoko is currently doing extremely well considering how tumultuous the start of the season was for them.

It is hard to imagine how Asante Kotoko would fare without Safiu, and it is fair to say they will struggle to replace him. Until recently, the Kotoko team previously strokes no fear into opposing teams.
 
In his first few months at the helm, Charles Kwablan Akonnor struggled to give the team balance and poise, the jury firmly out on whether the former Black Stars skipper was a viable long term solution to the club’s predicament.
 
In all these, Safiu was exonerated from any blame. The slight-of-frame attacker, who has an outstanding work rate, sublime technical skills and a terrific range of passing, has been the reason why the Porcupine Warriors booked a place in the semi-finals of the Normalisation Committee’s Special Competition scoring 8 goals in 11 appearances.
 
Such a mature performance demonstrates perfectly what an asset Abdul Fatawu Safiu is to this side- an asset not only in attack but a real team player in terms of covering up for his teammates.
 
When Kwesi Appiah was introduced to the press as the next manager of the Black Stars in 2017, among the things he said during his unveiling was to give Ghanaian footballers excelling everywhere in the world, the opportunity to prove their worth in the Black Stars setup.
 
The just ended football season has seen a lot of Ghanaian players making waves albeit some scintillating performances in their respective clubs across the globe. Some have had the opportunity to have a stint with the Black Stars within the period and others are still knocking for the opportunity.
 
One name that most Ghanaians wanted to see but was always missing was Abdul Fatawu Safiu to the dismay of the lovers of the game.
 
By a quirk of fate, kid play has become a reality and Safiu has finally been selected to be part of the provisional Black Stars team as they prepare for the African Cup of Nations in June.
 
In 21 competitive games across all competitions, he’s been directly involved in 15 goals- scoring 11 and recording 4assists. The numbers are impressive enough, but watching him on the field, it is impossible to ignore his calm, confident demeanour.
 
Arriving from a club that is less fancied is undoubtedly a daunting experience, as is dealing with pressure of playing for Asante Kotoko, yet the highest compliment one can give to Abdul Fatawu Safiu is to admit that he instantly looked like he belonged in the team.
 
A standard Safiu performance would be most other players' season highlight, and this sometimes makes it difficult to pick his stand-out games hence receiving effusive praises from the fans and neutral football lovers alike.
 
This player’s professionalism and positivity goes hand-in-hand with his ability on the pitch, and it is perhaps no surprise that – after just some few months with the Kumasi club – other clubs are beginning to look at bringing in the talented Ghanaian attacker in the next transfer window. 
 
In fact, he’s arguably one of the most in-form forward in the domestic league right now along with Karela FC’s Charles Diawisie Taylor.
 
While it’s still early days, Safiu has demonstrated all the qualities necessary to become an effective forward at the highest level.
 
The Kotoko man possesses an innate ability to be at the right place at the right time, and has already shown he rarely needs a second invitation to punish defenders. In fact, his 8 goals in 11 games in the Special Competition aptly corroborates this claim!
 
His instinctive nature in the final third and his finishing ability will help him continue his ascendency to the top. Couple that with his resilience and it is clear: unlike many forwards that joined the club before him, Safiu will not stop until he’s regarded as one of the best players ever to don the famous red jersey.
 
 His intelligence with space and eye for a pass also make him an attractive option playing behind a striker. He is a dead-ball specialist too.
 
Looking through Appiah’s provisional squad, Mubarak Wakaso seems to be the only player with the ability to score from free-kicks and so giving Safiu a place in the final squad would be an added advantage to the team considering his prowess.
 
The 24-year-old has come of age and thus certainly deserves a place in Appiah’s team. It would be a travesty beyond compare if Appiah overlook his consistent wonderful displays.
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