Ibrahim was born in Kano. In summer 2007, he signed for Sporting CP for €450,000, in a joint ownership agreement with his previous club Gateway FC. Shortly afterwards, it was reported that Premier League sides Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal were interested in signing him, but nothing came of it.
In late 2007, Ibrahim was included by World Soccer in its 50 Most Exciting Teen Footballers list and, in March of the following year, he was featured by InsideFutbol.com in an article on young African footballers including Emmanuel Adebayor, Mario Balotelli and Mikel John Obi. In January 2009, he appeared in Goal.com‘s list of 10 African Players to Watch, and The Times‘ Football’s Top 50 Rising Stars.
With Sporting, Ibrahim participated in the 2008 Bellinzona Under-19 International Tournament, with the Portuguese eventually winning the trophy. In the competition, in which he was eventually voted as the best player, he was deployed as a classic number 10 in a 4–2–3–1 system; one year later, he again led the Lisbon team to the final stage of the same tournament.
In October 2009, Ibrahim twice rejected Sporting’s offer of a professional contract, and was at that time sent on loan to Real S.C. in the third division. In January 2010 he drew interest from Scottish Premier League‘s Celtic, but the deal never materialised due to undisclosed reasons believed to involve work permit issues.
In 2010, Ibrahim left Sporting as a free agent. Subsequently, Dutch side VVV-Venlo tried to sign him in partnership with a United Kingdom-based consortium, but the negotiations broke down due to financial issues. In December, shortly after Damien Comolli was appointed director of football at Anfield, the player was again linked to Liverpool.