There’s been one name on the lips of the Green Gully faithful over the last month. Shifa Ahmed.

The Gully junior has risen through the ranks to become an integral part of the senior lineup in the last month, helping the side turn their fortunes around after a difficult run of results.

After an impressive start to the season in the Under 23s – where he scored 10 goals in 11 appearances – Ahmed earned himself a place in the Gully seniors, but his biggest impact came on a brisk Saturday afternoon at Avenger Park last month.

Thrust into the action against reigning NPL Victoria champions Avondale, Ahmed had a profound impact down the right flank, which helped Gully to an all-important victory.

His performance was so impressive that it earned him a place in the starting lineup in recent weeks. He has scored in each of his three starts since against St Albans, Melbourne Knights, and Moreland City.

These are the first of hopefully many Ahmed goals wearing Gully’s green and white.

“During my time at Gully, Shifa has always been in the age group underneath the one I’ve been coaching up until making his permanent move into the U23s with myself & Jayden,” Under 23 coach Andrej Maksimov said.

“Trust me when I say that it wasn’t a surprise for Shifa to dominate and bang in goals when he’d step up with me for training and game day, playing one or two years above his age group.

“Credit to all his coaches over the years, Todd (Miles), Frankie (Barilla), Aaron (Symons), for playing a part in developing not only a prospect for the club or beyond but also a fine young gentleman.

“He’s worked so hard over preseason, faced so much adversity with constant A-League Academy trials year after year, it’s safe to say he’s proving them all wrong now. I’m so proud of how far he’s come.”

Ahmed’s journey to the seniors started many years ago, working his way up from the Under 13s.

At community level in 2019, he scored 19 goals in 25 matches before banging home six goals in seven the following year during the Covid-19-affected season in Under 14s.

After tallies of seven goals and 12 goals in 2021 (Under 15s) and 2022 (Under 16s), Ahmed exploded in the 2023 season, scoring a whopping 24 goals in 39 matches for both the Under 18s and 21s which caught the attention of the senior setup.

Now, it remains to be seen what’s next in Ahmed’s journey as he looks to finish the season strongly and help Gully to a strong conclusion to the 2024 campaign.