Ghana youth international Basit Umar gained his first taste of Irish League life on Tuesday night in Ballymena United’s Toals County Antrim Shield quarter-final victory over Ballyclare Comrades.
Umar came close to marking his club debut with a goal during a 57-minute appearance at The Showgrounds.
The 18-year-old recently arrived in Northern Ireland and United boss David Jeffrey was keen to help the young prospect adjust off the pitch before introducing the forward on the field of play.
“He’s signed to be part and parcel of the first team,” said Jeffrey last weekend following United’s 1-1 draw with Dungannon Swifts. “He arrived on Monday evening and is staying with myself at the moment until such times as we get him something more permanent.
“It is about acclimatising, he trained on Thursday and today and we’ll look at the situation.
“Bryan McLaughlin, Ian Black and Johnny Irwin deserve the biggest amount of credit for the signing.
“The journey was long and borne out of when we were looking at how we would strengthen and build this new squad.
“We are obviously very pleased with the quality we’ve got.
“We also tried to compete with others with regards to particular players who made it known they would be interested in joining us but, ultimately, didn’t do so.
“So we wanted to look outside the box.
“We are always looking to see how to take the club forward.”
Described by the Ghana under 20s’ management team as “one of the best young attackers in the country”, Umar took time out of his signing confirmation to thank Ballymena United for “believing in me”.