Egyptian grandfather becomes world’s oldest football pro

Egyptian grandfather becomes world’s oldest football pro
Ezzeldin Bahader, a 74-years-old Egyptian football player of 6th October Club is seen in action during a soccer match against El Ayat Sports Club of Egypt's third division league at the Olympic Stadium in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, Egypt October 17, 2020. Picture taken October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Egyptian grandfather becomes world’s oldest football pro

Egyptian grandfather becomes world’s oldest football pro
  • Bahader was awarded the title by Guinness World Records on Saturday evening

CAIRO: Egyptian grandfather Ezzeldin Bahader has been recognized as the world’s oldest professional football player after completing a second full match just short of his 75th birthday.
Bahader was awarded the title by Guinness World Records on Saturday evening after missing a penalty kick as his team, 6th October, lost 3-2 to El Ayat Sports club in the Egyptian third division.
The former amateur player, who turns 75 on Nov. 3, scored a goal from the penalty spot in his debut match on March. He planned to play a second 90-minute match the same month to claim his record, but the suspension of sports activities to contain the spread of the coronavirus put his plans on hold.
Bahader had previously told media he was 75, which he attributed to “rounding up.” Having him on the team had allowed 6th October to gain sponsors and publicity, he said.
Some of Bahader’s six grandchildren attended Saturday’s match, chanting “Come on, Grandpa” from the touchline.
“I dream of being able to break my own record one more time, just to make the competition a little harder,” Bahader said, though he is now out of contract.
The record was previously held by 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik.


Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil

Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil
Updated 19 January 2021

Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil

Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil
  • The 32-year-old, who is the club’s highest earner, has not played since March 2020

LONDON: Arsene Wenger has hailed the “genius” of Mesut Ozil after the Arsenal outcast confirmed he was leaving the Premier League club to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

The former Arsenal boss signed the German playmaker in 2013 but the relationship has turned sour under current manager Mikel Arteta.

The 32-year-old, who is the club’s highest earner, on a reported weekly salary of £350,000 ($475,000), has not played since March 2020. But Wenger said the former Germany international, who won the World Cup in 2014, was a rare talent.

“Mesut is like if you imagine an orchestra in music,” the Frenchman told beIN Sports Turkey.

“He’s a guy who plays the ball at the right time. The timing of his pass is exceptional, but the creativity of his pass is as well.

“In every situation he confronts, he gives the right answer and that is genius.”

Ozil has claimed he is in good physical condition despite his lengthy period on the sidelines but Wenger said his former player would take a few games to build up his “competitive fitness.”

“If his basic fitness in training is good, it will only take him three or four games to be at his best,” said Wenger.

“The quality that he has is... vision in depth. He sees quickly, he decides quickly and he realizes quickly what he sees. That is a quality you don’t find too often in our game.”

Wenger said Ozil would strengthen Fenerbahce’s bid to win the Turkish league for the first time since 2013/14.

“I’m sure that he’s frustrated at not having played,” he said. “His hunger must be absolutely (enormous) to play football again.

“Mesut is a guy who needs a warm environment and I believe he will find that more than anywhere else in Turkey.”

Ozil, who is of Turkish origin, was a key member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning side but after what he labelled “racist” attacks following the holders’ first-round exit at the 2018 tournament, he ended his international career.

Fenerbahce, one of Istanbul’s three big clubs, are currently second in the Turkish Super Lig behind Besiktas.