You’re never too old to follow your dreams, the saying goes – and Egyptian grandfather Ezzeldin Bahader is living proof of that.
At 74, he’s been recognised as the world’s oldest professional soccer player.
Bahader was awarded the title by Guinness World Records recently after he completed his second match for 6th October, an Egyptian third-division side.
The grandfather of six became the world’s oldest goal scorer on his debut in March, when he netted the ball from the penalty spot, but he was unable to score in his second outing, missing a spot-kick during his team’s defeat by rivals El Ayat.
“I dream of being able to break my own record one more time, just to make the competition a little harder,” he said.
Bahader, who turns 75 on 3 November, says he planned on playing a second 90-minute match in the same month he made his debut, but the suspension of sporting activities due to the coronavirus pandemic put his plans on hold.
The former amateur player told the media that being on the team allowed 6th October to gain sponsors as well as publicity.
Some of his grandchildren attended the match on Saturday, supporting from the side-lines and chanting, “Come on, Grandpa!” according to Reuters.
Bahader’s contract with 6th October has now expired, but he’ll be on the hunt for a new club ahead of his 75th birthday.
The record for oldest pro football player was previously held by 73-year-old Isaak Hayik. The Israeli athlete broke the Guinness World Record last year after Uruguayan Robert Carmona held the record at the age of 53.