Ballymena United have announced the signing of Ghanaian under-20 international Basit Umar after the striker was granted a work permit.
The 18-year-old forward was part of Ghana’s U20 squad that qualified for the U20 African Cup of Nations this season.
Umar was signed and cleared on transfer deadline day, but the confirmation of his transfer was delayed due to a delay over his work permit.
The forward, who will wear the number 30 shirt for Ballymena this season, expressed his thanks for the chance to play with the Irish Premiership side.
“Firstly, I want to say thanks to the management of the Ghana U20 as a whole,” said the striker.
“Ghana, I will say, was my greatest stepping stone to the football market internationally - it is through them that I got my recognition outside of Ghana,” Umar told Ballymena’s club website.
“Words can't honestly explain how I feel knowing that people worked very hard for me to get here. I want to thank everyone in Ballymena United for believing in me and knowing I could make it there.
“Football for me is about hard work, that's what makes you stand out, and I work very hard,” Umar said.
“Not everyone gets this opportunity and I look forward to settling down and aim to play and score goals to help my team get to the top of the league.
“I want to make everyone there proud of me and what I can bring to the team.”
Ballymena’s assistant manager Bryan McLoughlin explained how the opportunity to sign Umar came through their ‘wider contacts in the game.'
“It came along as an opportunity for us to look outside the normal pool of players.”
“It came about through our wider contacts in the game and we're delighted to have this chance to sign a Ghana U20 international.
“It's not the first time that we have looked internationally, with Patrick Weir and Tim Allen in recent years, so we know what it's about in terms of helping him settle in.
“We spent the summer searching high and wide in terms of our own player pool and other players in Northern Ireland and the UK, but this appeared, and we are delighted to have Basit coming here.
“He's a young man looking an opportunity and is relishing the challenge of playing here.”