Abdul Fatawu Issahaku
Abdul Fatawu Issahaku

Reigning Africa U20 best player, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, says his move to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon will help him reach his full potential starting with the 2022 World Cup.

The Ghanaian youngster completed his transfer to Sporting on Wednesday after sealing a permanent contract from Tamale-based Steadfast FC.

The 18-year-old signed a five-year contract with the Portuguese giants keeping him at the club until June 2027.

Fatawu, who joins the Portuguese champions from the Ghanaian second-tier side, was presented at the Cristiano Ronaldo Academy owned by the club, before declaring that the move will help him attain his mission of reaching the top.

“I’m very happy to be here, it’s fantastic. They welcomed me very well,” said the Ghanaian youngster who raised eyebrows in recent CAF-organised tournaments.

“There are many differences between the football I was playing and Sporting CP. The move will make me grow more. Everyone has helped me, telling me what I have to do.

“I also promise to work hard to help the team achieve its goals.”

The highly-rated teenager was named overall best player after helping Ghana to win the TotalEnergies U20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament which was held in Mauritania last year.

Fatawu, who also visited the Jose Alvalade Stadium after signing the deal, was eager to praise Ghana football coaches for supporting his career.

“The Ghanaians believe in me and I had opportunities very early in my career. They made my dream possible and without that, I don’t think I would be here,” he said.

Abdul Fatawu Issahaku of Ghana shoots and scores during the 2021 CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations football match between Ghana and Gambia at Stade Municipal Nouadhibou, Mauritania on 22 February 2021

During the competition in Mauritania, he played all of the Black Satellites‘ matches, scoring two goals in the group stages to help his side win the title for the fourth time in their history.

In March 2021, after his exploits with the U20 side, he was given his first call-up to the Ghana senior squad for the clashes with South Africa and Sao Tome in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.

Fatawu was subsequently named in the Black Stars squad for the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.

The teenage sensation was handed starting roles in both legs during Ghana’s World Cup play-off against Nigeria.

The attacking midfielder is now hoping that his move will help him cement a place in the Ghana squad for the World Cup in Qatar later this year where they will play Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea in Group H.

Raffidine Abdullah of Comoros challenged by Abdul Issahaku of Ghana during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals match between Ghana and Comoros at Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, Cameroon, on 18 January 20

“The World Cup is every footballer’s dream,” the youngster said, revealing he has spoken to his new teammates of the Portugal national team about the impending clash with Ghana.

“The World Cup is a very big thing and everyone dreams of it. I can’t wait to be there”, Issahaku said.

“It would be fantastic. I’ve already talked to them (team-mates about Ghana versus Portugal game at the World Cup) and it has everything to be a good game.”

Ghana will be making their fourth appearance at the Mundial in Qatar this November and Fatawu is expected to make the final squad for the global showpiece.