17 March 2011
Once upon a time the king of assists, Ajani Ibrahim is now a scorer of goals and he loves his new status.
Last season, this out-and-out right winger netted a mere three goals as Enyimba won their sixth league title, and by the halfway mark of this term, he has more than tripled his goals account to sit on top of the Nigeria Premier League with 10 goals for glory-chasing Sunshine Stars.
Earlier in the season when the goals started pouring in, he told MTNFootball.com that his target for the season would be 14 goals.
But with his confidence in front of goal now on an all-time high, the 20-year-old Ajani is only too happy to review his target upwards.
Would he score 20 goals and smash the 18-goal mark set by Ahmed Musa of Kano Pillars last season?
Anything is possible, not impossible, simply answered the winger, who picked his header away to Crown FC earlier this month as his most cherished golden effort.
I will happy to score another 10 goals in the second round of the league. That would be my target.
He has got the whole club backing him to set a new goals record in the NPL so much so that he now takes the teams penalties ahead of the official spot kick taker, skipper Godfrey Obuabona.
He will blame the rotational policy at Enyimba season for his limited appearances and invariably for his lack of goals last season.
The former Gateway FC of Abeokuta star has made up for his lack of inches with his great technique, speed, intelligence and ever-busy style.
Fortune has also smiled on him in this campaign as he has rejoined former club Sunshine Stars now handled by Gbenga Ogunbote, the man who first spotted him playing for his school in Abeokuta.
Im not surprised by Ajanis exploits because besides the fact that he started out with me, he is a true pro, hes very focussed and always wants to improve, said a proud Ogunbote.
I know what he is capable of. He has got pace to burn and he is forever mobile.
Can Ajani set a new NPL goals record?
I hope he does so. Scoring more than 18 goals in a season is achievable and if he continues this way, he will do it, answered Ogunbote.
Ahmed Musa bagged a contract with Dutch club VVV Venlo after emerging the NPL Goal King last season.
Ajanis goals have earned him his first-ever invitation to the national team setup with the countrys Olympic team and he also dreams of taking his game to Europe after he would have painted the NPL with goals.
Im yet to receive an offer but so many agents have bombarded me, the big Manchester United fan told MTNFootball.com.
Its my dream to play in Europe, preferably the English Premier League because it is played at a fast tempo which will suit my game.
Sunshine Stars are gunning for their first-ever league crown after they finished third last season. They are now four points behind leaders Dolphin.
The title race is very wide open. Our target to be champions but the likes of Dolphin, Warri Wolves, Sharks and Kwara United will be our main rivals for the title, said Ajani, who won an FA winners medal with Dolphin in 2006.
What do Ajanis goals mean to Sunshine Stars title push?
1 goal vs Crown (away), 1-1 draw 1 point
1 goal vs Sharks (away), 1-2 No point
1 goal vs Lobi (home), 2-0 3 points
1 goal vs Warri Wolves (home), 3-1 3 points
1 goal vs Bukola Babes (home), 1-0 3 points
1 goal vs Enugu Rangers (home), 2-0 3 points
1 goal vs Gombe United (home), 3-1 3 points
1 goal vs Heartland (away), 2-1 3 points
1 goal vs Ocean Boys (away), 2-0 3 points
1 goal vs Kano Pillars (home) 3 points
His goals have accounted for 25 of the 39 points recorded by Sunshine Stars in the first round, over 64% of the clubs tally.
Sunshine have only lost once, away to Sharks in Port Harcourt, any time Ajani has hit target.
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