‘I thought I was dreaming’: Ethiopia-born teenager Idrus Abdulahi is Melbourne City’s latest A-League starlet

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At just 16 years old Ethiopia-born Idrus Abdulahi became the youngest player to debut for Melbourne City in a frantic final ten minutes which felt like a dream.

Having migrated from Ethiopa as a refugee in 2010 – Abdulahi’s story is one which would touch the hearts of many.

Described as one of the nicest players in the locker room by his teammates the former Brunswick City midfielder spends his spare time training and volunteering at his former club when he’s not completing his homework at Maribyrnong Secondary College in Melbourne’s west.

Abdulahi replaced Dario Vidosic in the 81st minute of City’s 5-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners and played an integral role in the team’s fifth goal – a moment which will take some time to sink in for the young winger.

“I thought I was dreaming [when I came on], I thought I was in my bedroom last night I was pinching myself the whole time,” Abdulahi said.

“[Scott Jamieson] looked after me out there he told me where to be, everyone really helped me.”

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“I was training all week with the first team and [Warren Joyce] told me I could have the chance and to be ready.”

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It was Abdulahi’s persistence and determination to strip Mariners captain Matt Simon of the ball which ultimately led to a number of City’s youth combining to score what was the best goal of the night – finished off by Ramy Najjarine.

“I felt like I was going to cry when Ramy [Najjarine] scored that goal,” he said.

After playing at Brunswick City, Abdulahi was recruited by City through the ‘skillaroos’ program and featured on the bench in Round 1 but has not seen any first team football until now.

When the 16-year-old is not showcasing his skills for City he is completing his schooling in Melbourne’s west.

“It’s hard to balance everything but the club and school have planned a schedule for me I’m very happy but have to keep working hard,” he said.

“I just wanted to train with the first team and train at that level.

“I have to go to school on Monday so now I’ll be doing my homework for then.”

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It was a historic night for the club with Warren Joyce naming five teenagers on his bench to fill the omissions of a number of his stars including Ritchie De Laet and Jamie Maclaren.

“A lot of them have worked tremendously hard,” Joyce said.

“It can be boring and frustrating if you’re not in the team, they do these tasks and deserved an opportunity to throw their hat in the rink for finals football.

“Actually, I did say the side that started tonight may have been our best at the start of the season.”

The result gives City hope of finishing fifth on the table – should Wellington Phoenix go down by at least two-goals to Perth Glory on Sunday.

Should City finish fifth they would travel to face Adelaide United otherwise an elimination final against reigning champions Melbourne Victory awaits them.

“You can’t be selective on who you play – we’re in the finals if you want to progress, you’ll have to beat the better teams wherever,” Joyce said.

“We wanted to go in and win the game by as many goals as we can – it was no different to what we told the players any other week.”

Featured Image: Ngau Kai Yan

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RMIT Journalism | Football Nation Radio Like all football fans my general mood for the week is dictated by how my team performs over the weekend.