Obscure Metro Files: Abbe Ibrahim and Salou Ibrahim
January 31, 2014
Two rather different African forwards named Ibrahim, who both spent a year with Metro? Sounds like another edition of Obscure Metro Files!
If you think Metro has a lot of trialists now, you should have seen preseason rosters during Bob Bradley's years. It was a revolving door of players from all over the globe. One of Bradley's ideas was to acquire cheap young talent from Africa. Two players were signed in 2005: Senegalese defender Ibrahima Diallo, who was quickly released, and Togolese striker Abdoulaye "Abbe" Ibrahim.
Ibrahim, who was only 18 at the time, never played professionally before. He did have an unsuccessful trial at Manchester United, so some potential was there. Bradley brought him up slowly, but two two-goal games with the reserves gave Abbe a chance at the starting lineup. He opened his scoring tally in his second start, a 3:0 road drubbing of Columbus. Also scoring his first Metro goal in that game? Youri Djorkaeff, 19 years Abbe's senior, who partnered him up front. Two games later, Ibrahim got his second, scoring off a corner kick in a 2:2 tie with Los Angeles.
Abbe was raw, but he had potential. The decision making was not there yet, but the speed and the nose for goal were. Sadly for him, the early prowess did not last. Abbe suffered a torn meniscus, had surgery, and returned to a team that just acquired Ante Razov. Ibrahim ended the season with those two goals and three assists in 17 games, and was an afterthought as the playoffs rolled on. And then, the offseason came.
We detailed the shenanigans here, but basically, the new regime of Alexi Lalas and Mo Johnston had no idea what they are doing. First, there were supposed visa problems. Then, Lalas told him to find a new club. That was followed by a decision to bring him back. Then, there were overtures that uncapped Ibrahim was going to be called up by Togo to go to the World Cup. Then, Johnston couldn't get a hold of his agent...
Long story short, Ibrahim didn't come back to the team in 2006, but Metro still owned his rights. Those were flipped to Johnston's new team, Toronto, in January of 2007, in exchange for a fourth round pick. Ibrahim played one game for the lowly Canadians and was cut soon after. He then embarked on a long-winded career in Ukraine, Moldova, and back to Togo.
Salou Ibrahim's time with Metro came five years after his similarly-surnamed striker. Part of Erik Soler and Hans Backe's Scandinavian influx, he wasn't Scandinavian himself; rather a dual citizen of Ghana and Belgium. It was in the Belgian leagues where Ibrahim made his name (that name being "Salou", which he chose to wear on his jersey), spending two years with Club Brugge. The Scandinavian connection came from the Danish club Velje, which also gave us Brian Nielsen (thanks, Soler and Backe!). After spending a solitary year with that club, Salou arrived at newly-built Red Bull Arena in April. His salary? A remarkably high $264,000.
The burly Salou, a tall, immobile striker, was the polar opposite of lithe Abbe. Yet like the previous Ibrahim, he also managed to find the net. In fact, Metro won every game he scored in: 2:1 over Philly, 2:0 over DC, and 3:0 over Kansas City. Yet, just like the previous Ibrahim, Salou's playing time was greatly reduced down the stretch (the acquisition of someone named Titi Henry had something to do with it). He played in 20 games total, starting eight.
As the offseason rolled, the lack of logic of paying a quarter of a million for a three-goal substitute exposed itself. So in March, Ibrahim was quietly released. He went back to Belgium, and was last with the delightfully-named Hoogstraten in that country's third division.
For all their differences, the two Ibrahims were rather similar...