Football Focus: Egyptian grandad world’s oldest soccer pro


IMAGE: Ezzeldin Bahader, a 74-years-old Egyptian football player of 6th October Club talks with Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports (wearing a protective face mask) before 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. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Egyptian grandfather Ezzeldin Bahader has been recognised as the world’s oldest professional soccer 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.

Eight positive in latest Premier League COVID-19 tests

The Premier League said on Monday that eight people had returned positive results in its latest round of COVID-19 tests conducted on players and staff last week.

The league said the individuals who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus would now self-isolate for 10 days.

“The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 12 October and Sunday 18 October, 1,575 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, there were eight new positive tests,” the Premier League said in a statement https://www.premierleague.com/news/1814863

A total of 42 people have tested positive for the virus in seven rounds of testing since the new campaign began on Sept. 12.

There have been more than 750,000 COVID-19 infections and over 43,000 deaths in the United Kingdom, according to a Reuters tally.

Genoa hold Verona 0-0 despite being depleted by COVID-19

Genoa held on for a 0-0 draw away to Verona in Serie A on Monday despite having their squad decimated following a COVID-19 outbreak at the club.

Goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who was the first player to become infected and has since recovered, gave an excellent performance as he kept the hosts at bay, capped by a save from Davide Faraoni’s header late in the game.

Genoa were hit by the outbreak three weeks ago and, at one stage, 17 players and five members of staff had tested positive. Their previous match at home to Torino was postponed.

On Monday, they still had 13 players missing, including some who were still positive and others who had recovered but were not fit to play.

“There is one word for it; teamwork” said Perin after the game.

“We’ve really had a difficult time with players who trained very little, including myself. But we decided not to look for excuses, to be compact and try not to repeat last year’s season.

“We’re aware that our goal is to stay up, but we must also hope to surprise our fans, for the people who are suffering and cheering us on.”

Genoa, who narrowly avoided the drop last season, have four points from three games and Verona seven from four.

 



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