One of the best footballers in Maldives history, Ali Ashfaq seems to be featured in the newly launched MVR 5 banknote.
The note is the latest in the “Ran Dhiha Faheh” note series, introduced in January 2016, and is designed by Abdulla Nashath, the same artist who designed the rest of the banknotes.
The MVR 5 banknote was released at a special ceremony at Iskandhar School on Wednesday morning, by the governor of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) Dr. Azima Adam and Minister of Education Dr. Aishath Shiham.
While the media official at MMA Ahmed Mansoor confirmed that the artist had based the image on a photo of Ashfaq, he stopped short of confirming that it is actually Ashfaq that is featured in the banknote.
However, President of the Football Association of Maldives, Bassam Adeel Jaleel congratulated Ashfaq and MMA, saying that the new banknote "is dedicated to sports and unity".
"Its an honor for the football family to see one of greatest players ever to embrace the national colors on it", reads Bassam's post.
The note clearly features an action shot of the Maldives national team captain. It also shows an additional player behind Ashfaq, in a black and white striped jersey. While the player featured in the banknote is seen to be wearing the newest national team jersey- in green- a photo being circulated on social media shows that the original image is from a match of the Malaysia Super League, where Ashfaq played for PDRM FA.
Ashfaq, top goal scorer of all time for the Maldives national football team, began his international career in 2004, three years after he made his debut with Club Valencia.
In addition, the banknotes also shows images significant to the Maldivian culture, inclduing the traditional Bodu Mas, as well as a group of men and women doing the Dhandi and Bandiyaa dances.