This 75 year old is on a mission to become the world’s oldest professional footballer

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 3:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 3:21 pm
Bahder, 75, has dreamed of playing football professionally since his youth (Photo: Shutterstock)

As you get older, you can often fall into the trap of believing there are certain things in life that you can no longer do.

But, as the saying goes, age is just a number and who’s to say you shouldn’t be able to carry on doing what you love, for as long as you’re able?

For one 75 year old man, that is exactly the case, as he makes a bid to become the world’s oldest professional footballer.

A long-awaited dream

Eez Eldin Bahder began playing football in the streets of Cairo at the age of six, but the thought of playing at a professional level had remained a distant dream for decades. That is until, at the age of 75, Bahder registered with the Egyptian Football Association - making him its oldest player yet.

Despite playing football for many years at an amateur level, Bahder abandoned hope of becoming a professional striker long ago, having struggled to find the time while working as a civil engineering consultant, and later a land cultivation expert.

But now, almost seven decades after being introduced to the game, Bahder revived his dream of playing professionally, and began applying to join a club.

He was later accepted into October 6 - a club that plays in Egypt’s third division - and is now training regularly, both at the club and at home with the help of a personal trainer.

Regaining fitness

In order to be recognised as the world’s oldest professional football player, Bahder needs to play two 90 minute matches. He is currently working hard to regain his fitness through regular training, and hopes to complete the task in March.

A representative of Guinness World Records will be in attendance at the second match to assess Bahder’s claim.

And while his age may have seemed somewhat of a challenge at first, his personal trainer Mahmoud Refaat said his motivation to succeed had only proved stronger.

The Guinness World Record for the oldest professional footballer is currently held by Israeli man Issak Hayik, who played in goal in April last year for Israel’s Ironi Or Yehuda.

Speaking of his ambition to claim the world record for himself, Bahder told ESPN, “For me, it is not just being the oldest player. I want to be the oldest player, who also plays well.

“If I only achieve the title of the oldest player, by entering the [Guinness] World Records, but did not play well, I will not realise my plan. It will be the end of it for me.”