Ahmed Abdullah came to prominence as a reliable defender through the ranks of New Radiant. Before he signed for the Blues, he spent a season in the second division with Veloxia and later played for his island club Hinnavaru in the zone tournament. It was his performance with Hinnavaru that actually caught the eyes of well known football figures in the country. It was no surprise that legendary footballer Moosa Maniku, who was then the coach of Hurriyyaa, invited Ahmed to join them. But he was not ready at that time.
“It felt good to know someone like Moosa recognises your talent, but I find it difficult to move during that time because of my job” Ahmed said in an interview with maldivesoccer.com.
But opportunities never deserted him as one of country’s most successful club offered him the opportunity. To our surprise it wasn’t Ahmed’s decision to play as a defender.
I used to play as a striker, but when I signed for New Radiant coach Mohan asked me to play as a defender. He said I have got the height to play as a defender”
Ahmed’s willingness to listen to coach Mohan paid off brilliantly as he established himself as one of the best defenders in the country and breaking into national team squad as well.
Despite joining New Radiant in 2009, it was all trophy-less seasons until the club gets a new management in 2012. And with the addition of high profiled players such as Ali Ashfaq, Imran Mohamed and Ibrahim Fazeel, New Radiant hit the top mark. They won the league and President’s Cup in 2012 followed by a historical season under Bulgarian coach Velizar Popov in 2013. New Radiant finished 2013 by winning all their domestic games and reaching the quarter finals of AFC Cup.
“No one expected that, but after finishing second round of the league all the players had the motive to finish the season with a 100% winning run” Ahmed added.
Popov became a cult figure among New Radiant supporters for a historical season and he also became players favourite for his coaching and managerial skills. Ahmed, like many blues players, pick Popov as one of the best coaches they have worked with.
Popov definitely is one of the best coaches I have worked with”
Players have their idols when they grow up and like many other youngsters living outside Male’ Ahmed too followed the game mostly via radio commentary. He too had a player he admired.
“Kappi” he said.
The former national team and Victory captain Mohamed Ibrahim is one of the finest defenders Maldives has produced and like Ahmed many footballers admire his skill and confidence as a defender.
“We always hear the commentator describes him as a brilliant and confident player” Ahmed added how he started to admire the legendary defender.
A defender’s worst nightmare is marking skillful strikers and Ahmed has come up against some of the finest in the region but when asked about the most challenger striker to mark he named a very well known two players in South Asia.
“Sunil Chetri and Jeje (both from India). Jeje is very skillful and keeps moving and as a defender that makes him so difficult to mark”
After four trophy laden seasons with New Radiant, Ahmed finally leaves New Radiant and joined TC Sports this year. TC failed to win any silverware but the season could be considered a successful one for the club as they played in the finals of FA Cup and President’s Cup. Ahmed is yet to make his decision to whether renew the contract with TC or make another move.