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Nov 04, 2021   |  10:56AM AET

Folami growth clear to see at Victory

Folami growth clear to see at Victory

Ben Folami took time to find his feet at Melbourne Victory, but by the end of last season was starting to show his potential.

Folami, 22, arrived at Victory on loan from Ipswich Town in October 2020, having played for the Young Socceroos and Olyroos.

The forward was playing in Australia for the first time in his professional career after leaving the nation to join Ipswich as a teenager.

Folami made his full senior debut for the English club in 2017, but between then and joining Victory, he would play just nine senior games, including two on loan at Stevenage.

It should have come as little surprise that on his arrival to the Isuzu UTE A-League, Folami needed time.

The 2020/21 season was, after all, his first senior campaign during which he was earning regular minutes.

With Victory struggling, Folami faced both challenges from a team and individual perspective early in the season.

But his growth was clear as the campaign went on and, by the end, he had done enough to earn a two-year contract at Victory.

Folami had shown glimpses as Victory reached the last 16 in the 2020 AFC Champions League, including with an excellent finish in a 2-2 draw with Chiangrai United.

His first A-League goals came five months later during an exhilarating 5-4 victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The first strike was a cool finish from a Robbie Kruse cross and the second a composed volley from a Jake Brimmer corner. A brilliant run that started inside his own half also saw Folami earn a penalty in that win.

Folami’s speed and dribbling ability was also on show in May’s 6-1 demolition of Western United. He set up Elvis Kamsoba’s goal and then got on the scoresheet himself after using his pace, and ability to stay calm at the key moment.

Victory will be hoping to see more of that this season. Having shown what he can do after settling late last season, Folami could have a vital role to play in 2021/22.