Graham Mitchell caught up with new signing Ibrahim Olutade after his recent trip to the Falklands Islands representing England. Ibz was signed by Nikki Bull from Hanwell Town in October after impressing for his former club in the FA Cup against Tanners. Ibz had only joined Hanwell from Balham. Whilst at Balham in 2015 he was the leading scorer, with 35 goals, in the Southern Youth League before stepping up to senior football. His goals helped Balham to promotion to the Combined Counties Premier Division in 2017 and to lift the London Senior Cup (scoring twice in the final) for the first time in April 2018.
What persuaded you to sign for Leatherhead?
I’ve seen how big the club is especially how things are being run here. It really excited me and also the fans are amazing.
What are your personal ambitions for your time with the Tanners?
To get in to double figures in goals. I want to show people that I can score goals at this level and help the team to finish as high as possible in the table.
Growing up, which players did you take inspiration from? Who were your childhood heroes?
Mine were Ronaldo and Rooney, the chemistry they had at Manchester United was great to watch and the amount of goals they scored was ridiculous. Right now I look up to Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero.
Which team do you support?
I support Manchester United. (Oh dear)
You’re hosting a dinner party this weekend. Which three celebrities are invited, and why?
I’ll invite Kevin Hart (American comedian and actor) because I find him so funny, Drake because he seems like a cool guy and Harry Kane for him to tell me what it’s like to score goals in the Premier League.
What has been the highlight of your football career to date?
Scoring on my debut for Leatherhead and being picked to represent England in the Falklands.
Do you have any pre match rituals or superstitions?
I do a little prayer before every game.
Do you have a nickname?
Yep I do. They are Ibz or Ibra. A new one I heard for the first time is Ibbo from Mick the England C goalkeeper coach. I’ve never been called that before.
Who has been the biggest influence on your playing career to date?
So many people have but I want to thank my old coach called Jerome who turned me into a striker whilst I was a centre back. Also Barnsey who has been really helpful to this day.
If you were stuck on a desert island which teammate would you take and why?
I’ll take Jerry. He’s the skipper so he should know the right thing to do.
What do you do as a day job?
I work in a nursery.
What music do you enjoy listening to before a match?
I like R&B and rap.
If your life was turned into a movie, which actor would play you?
What is your footballing ambition?
To play in the Premier League.
You have had a fairly rapid rise through the pyramid to date, Southern Youth League to Bostik Premier in three years. What is your ultimate goal?
I think I can go all the way to the Premier League. I just need to keep working hard, working on my weaknesses and keep scoring goals. I’m really grateful to have made such a big jump.
What is your favourite movie and why?
My favourite movie is ‘White Chicks’ because it’s a movie that I can watch many times and still find it so funny.
Finally, do you have a message for the Leatherhead supporters?
I just want to say thank you for making me feel so welcome and all the positive messages. I hope to bring you goals and excitement on the pitch.
Ibz also gave his reflections on his recent trip to the Falklands Islands to represent England -
What was the experience like?
The experience was incredible. I never thought I’d represent England playing at this level. It was an unreal feeling being in the Falklands and the way people were showing us so much love was amazing. We even got the chance to attend schools and meet so many kids that asked us questions. After the games people asked us for pictures and for us to sign their shirts, which was great too.
How did you feel representing England?
It was a dream come true representing England. I’ve always watched England play and watched the training drills on YouTube, especially the shooting drills. Playing games in an England shirt was a huge honour and something that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life. It was a proud moment for me and my family. I played in both games (v Falkland Islands won 3-1 and v British South Atlantic Combined Forces won 3-2) and scored in the first game against the Falklands Isles.
Many thanks to Ibz for taking the time to answer these questions