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The freestyle footballer from Kozhikode is simply again from Qatar, the place she participated within the Influencer Cup held as a part of the run-up to FIFA World Cup 2022

The freestyle footballer from Kozhikode is simply again from Qatar, the place she participated within the Influencer Cup held as a part of the run-up to FIFA World Cup 2022

Hadiya Hakeem is on the high of the Twister Tower in Doha, Qatar, juggling a ball together with her toes. On the dizzying peak of 640 toes, the tower affords a 360-degree view of Doha, however Hadiya is immersed in her efficiency, letting the ball roll round her physique with out touching the bottom.

The freestyle footballer from Kozhikode, Kerala, was not too long ago on the Influencer Cup, representing India within the Asia Workforce.
Freestyle soccer is the artwork of inventive expression utilizing a soccer, combining components of sport and artwork. A freestyle footballer juggles the ball together with his or her toes or some other a part of the physique, usually excluding the elbows and fingers. “Freestyling treads the nice line between dance and sport. It’s a means of self-expression with a soccer. Nonetheless, even somebody who has by no means performed common soccer can do it,” she says.

The Influencer Cup, organised by the Supreme Committee for Supply & Legacy, Qatar Airways and Go to Qatar, had 29 soccer influencers from completely different components of the world competing. Hosted at Stadium 974, one of many FIFA World Cup 2022 venues in Qatar, the matches had influencers showcasing their freestyling expertise. “We even received to work together with famend footballers Cafu, Tim Cahill and Yaya Toure. These are individuals whom I’ve admired since childhood, and it was a dream come true for me. I even picked up a trick or two from them.” 

Freestyle footballer Hadiya Hakeem at Stadium 974 in Qatar

Freestyle footballer Hadiya Hakeem at Stadium 974 in Qatar
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Feminine freestyler

Nineteen-year-old Hadiya was the one feminine presence within the Asia Workforce, which received the silver medal. Having performed common soccer throughout her college days in Qatar, the place her household had been primarily based then, Hadiya transitioned to freestyling as soon as they returned to India in 2016. “For a woman, there have been few alternatives to proceed soccer teaching. My college didn’t have a ladies’ soccer group. However I began freestyling at residence and it appeared like an entire world had opened up earlier than me,” she says.

Hadiya is at present pursuing her BA in English Literature from Dr Gafoor Memorial MES Faculty, Mambad. 

In love with soccer

Hadiya’s expertise have earned her a rising tribe of followers on her social media channels, which have movies of her spinning the ball on her finger, balancing the ball deftly on her again and brow and her easy approach in rotating the ball round her knees and toes. 

Having grown up in a household of soccer followers, the game got here naturally to her, says Hadiya. However as she gravitated in the direction of freestyling, she started to benefit from the freedom it gave her. “Every time I learnt a brand new trick, it made me extraordinarily completely satisfied. I forgot all my worries.” She learnt freestyle by way of movies on the web, spending hours studying, practising and perfecting her expertise by way of tutorials. “When you get the approach proper, you might be free to improvise the strikes,” she provides.

Hadiya Hakeem 

Hadiya Hakeem 
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Although freestyle soccer continues to be catching on in India, curiosity in it has been on a gradual rise. “Quite a lot of Indian freestylers, ladies included, are showcasing their expertise on social media and a few of them are even providing to show.” 

Hadiya says she will get a number of messages from ladies, who love soccer. “We nonetheless don’t have soccer academies providing to educate ladies. There may be expertise and love for the sport. I need to work for the event of soccer for women,” she says, including “I’m glad with my journey to date. And I’d proceed to compete and attend as many tournaments as doable.”

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