Interview: world's oldest football pro says claiming Guinness record not easy

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-31 22:59:25|Editor: huaxia

CAIRO, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- For 75-year-old Egyptian Izzedine Bahader, claiming the Guinness record for the world's oldest active footballer was not an easy mission.

Bahader, who plays for the 6th of October football club, one of the third division teams in Egypt, officially topped the list of the Guinness Book of Records registered on Oct. 17 as the oldest professional player after he played two full matches with his team during the 2019-2020 season.

"I'm now on the top of the list of oldest football players, despite the difficulties that occurred during the past months, including the spread of coronavirus which halted football activities in Egypt for several months," Bahader told Xinhua.

The Egyptian footballer, who plays as a striker and sometimes as a winger, scored a goal in each of his two official matches and has also become the oldest football player to score in an official match.

"I wanted to make this achievement a long time ago, it was difficult to break the previous record of the Israeli footballer Isaac Hayek who topped the list for playing at the age of 73 years and 95 days," Bahader added.

He noted that claiming the Guinness record is not only important for him, but also for Egyptian football in general.

Egypt's Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi, Egyptian Football Association officials and delegates from the Guinness Book of Records attended Bahader's second match, after which he received his registration certificate in the book of the records.

Bahader, who has been playing football since he was a schoolboy, has established a small playground attached to his house where he plays football with his six grandchildren.

"I did not officially play football until I filmed a short video clip showing some of my skills and sent it to the Guinness Book, which responded to me that I had to officially play for a team in order to register my name as the oldest football player," he said.

He added that a group of third division clubs offered him to join them, but he chose the 6th of October club.

"I played some friendly matches with the team, and then played two full official matches in order to be registered in the Guinness Book of Records," Bahader, who is originally a civil engineer, revealed.

Bahader's ambition is not limited to claiming the Guinness record, but he aspires to play for a club that participates in the African Champions League and also wins the African title.

"If I can do that, it will be difficult for anyone else to break such a record," said the father of four. Enditem