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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Walking footballer steps onto international stage

Lifelong footballer, Albert Hadid, can’t keep up with the young blokes anymore, but that hasn’t stopped him from walking towards his dreams.

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor, Bilal El-Hayek, met up with the 69-year-old Condell Park local to congratulate him on being selected to represent Australia at an international walking soccer tournament in Chesterfield, UK, this May.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was five years old,” Mr Hadid said.

“I got injured while playing with the younger people, so I decided to try walking soccer.

“I was always a jogger and runner, so it was a difficult change… going from normal to walking soccer. But I’m enjoying it because I don’t get injured and I can use my skills more.”

Mr Hadid will play alongside nine other Australians in the Walkaroos 70’s team, as they take on a number of European teams including England, Germany, Scotland and Wales.

“I’m excited to represent Australia! My son played A-League, but he got injured, so I’m going to represent Australia for him,” Mr Hadid said.

He iencouraged other seniors to get involved in walking football for its various physical and social benefits.

“I look forward to my Saturday mornings now so I can go and play for two hours.

“You don’t have to get elected to play for Australia like me, but it’s good to be fit and active and meet new people.”

Mayor El-Hayek wished Albert luck and said he has already done the City proud.

“Judging from the rigorous training session I had with Albert, I have no doubt he will shoot for the stars at the World Championships,” Mayor El-Hayek said.

“I encourage all seniors to get involved in the walking sports available in our City. You’re never too old to kick goals!”

Canterbury Bankstown residents over 50 who would like to get involved in Walking Football can come along to Council’s program, in partnership with Bankstown North Football Club, every Friday from 10-11.30am at Graf Park, Yagoona.

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