Fatawu, the next rising star
For the umpteenth time, Tamale has done it again. The city is notorious for producing footballers with precocious talent. Some of them have hit the top and others have sadly joined the uneviable growing list of wasted talents. Shilla Illiasu made it to the World Cup after haven honed his talent here. In recent times, Mubarak Wakaso, Baba Abdul-Rahman and Abdul-Majeed Waris have emerged and proven their worths to varying degrees.
There are those who have not been able to reach the level their talents deserved. Three names quickly come to mind – Fatawu Yakubu (a.k.a Amingos), Haruna Ganiyu (a.k.a Zenzen) and Nafiu Iddrisu. I’m having goosebumps right now. These are guys who had the talent to compare with anybody’s, anywhere on planet Earth and I’m not exaggerating. Quite unfortunately, injuries and other reasons held them back.
Today in town, it goes without saying that, the name on every fan’s lips is Issahaku Abdul-Fatawu (a.k.a Fatawu Bonku), a product of Tamale Utrecht Football Academy, TUFA. At Utrecht, Fatawu Bonku turned heads with his sheer ability on the ball. A left footer, he is blessed with a skillset that includes amazing dribbling and a shot power as though he’s got a dynamite in his foot. Anyone who watched him in his formative years just knew that the boy was made for the game.
Steadfast Football Club, a Tamale based Division One League side acquired his services a few seasons ago. Since then, Fatawu has never looked back. He has succeeded in enhancing the reputation of the club owned by the Minority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, and MP for Tamale South Constituency, the venerable Honourable Haruna Iddrisu.
In him, the club has a go-to guy who steps up to the plate in hard times. Often deployed at the right side of midfield, Fatawu is able to drift in from the wing and bend the ball or go for power. He has also operated as the main striker upfront. Either way, he has proven to be their trusted source of goals. Before the past DOL got truncated by the coronavirus outbreak, he was the top scorer of the Northern Zone with 8 goals. Steadfast have had to turn down offers for him, including from premier league clubs.
As I type, Fatawu is proving his worth in the national U-17 team, the Black Starlets, where he is the captain of the team. He is part of coach Ben Fokuo’s side preparing for the WAFU U-17 tournament slated to take place in Benin. In their preparatory matches, the boy has raised eyebrows with two stunning goals; a long-range freekick and a midway lob that caught the keeper off guard. With his ability, Ghana looks forward to a gifted number 10 who is out to reignite the spirit associated with that shirt.
This boy has tremendous potential. He’s got to be guided and managed properly. He’s made for high level football. Talent alone cannot work. It needs hardwork and discipline, and of course a stroke of luck against injuries. I’ve watched him many times and I’m convinced he’ll develop into a high quality player in no time. But for now, he is a work in progress. Remember the name – Issahaku Abdul-Fatawu, a.k.a Fatawu Bonku.
Yours in the beautiful game