For years, he became a known local star proudly tracing his roots to the Northern Region of Ghana.
Years on, he is back at where it all started, this time, heavily involved in other things apart from football.
In an occasional day for the former Black Stars player, Shilla Illiasu commutes over a two-hour journey to his farm in the outskirts of Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana. It is a routine he has been used to for the past four years.
Starting off with maize farming, Illiasu has seen his yield grow over the period in quantities he never envisaged.
“I decided to venture into something more profitable and that was farming of which I decided to try.
He adds: “A lot of people have been asking me about that because they knew I had the opportunity to play to the highest level.
“In 2016, I went into maize farming and God being so good, I was able to produce 150 bags.
“So, I added rice and this farm is the second farm I am having, of which I harvested 87 bags on 17 acres land of rice last year. But this year’s own is 25 acres, so, we are all anticipating that maybe at the end of the season, we will be able to get more yield.’’
The inspiration to venture into farming came from close friends and colleagues plus expert advice Shilla says has come in handy with time.
For most footballers, the temptation to get all flashy and damn the consequences is high. But for Shilla, he was ready to go against the norm.
“It’s not easy because changing profession is not a small thing. However, I do get myself involved a lot if only I am in town.
“Farming has been very beneficial to me because I put in more effort.”
Despite being heavily involved in farming, real estate and transport, Shilla says he still makes time for football related activities, scouting for some teams.
“While you are not playing people think it is over. But it is not because I do some scouting for some 1st division team here in Tamale.
“I am still in contact with the heads in our football world and if not for Covid, I would have started something with football.”
For as long as the yields continue to pour in, Shilla Illiasu is prepared to put in the sweat that brings in the comfort he wants for himself and family.
Until the next harvest, his daily prayer is one and one only; long may the seeds sprout.
By Nana Akua Amankwaa Quaye|3news.com|Ghana