This video has recently been making the rounds on Pakistani Facebook pages and I have received a number of emails with its link. Each time I have seen it, I have been amazed at the skill, control and dexterity of this young man.
The video is indeed remarkable, but was also mysterious because (on the versions I was seeing) it did not say who it was or where or exactly what the connection to Pakistan was.
The facebook video I kept seeing just had the title “Best Freestyler From Pakistan” without much detail. I tried looking it up on YouTube but it turns out that YouTube is brimming and overflowing with ‘Freestyle Football’ videos, including a whole slew from young Pakistanis – some quite talented, others not so. Then I got an email from a reader saying this was someone called Rehan Munir; now I thought I had a lead, YouTube did have a number of freestyle football videos from Rehan Munir, he seemed to look of similar built, but the performance, while impressive, was not quite the same league. So, I kept looking.
Finally, I think I have found who is in the video and what the context is: The young man in the video is Abbas Farid and this is his championship winning performance in Hong Kong at the 2007 Nike freestyle competition. Turns out that Abbas is from Britain (New Port, South Wales), of Pakistani origin, and quite a celebrity in the world of freestyle football (again, my apologies for my ignorance of this entire world).
Here is what his website says:
Abbas was inspired by the France ’98 world cup. After a few years of practicing, the Nike Freestyle competition was launched in 2001. The competition was re-launched in 2003. An estimated 30,000 competitors entered the competition. Abbas fought his way into the finals and emerged the clear winner – becoming the Freestlye King. Since winning the competition Abbas has become a successful freestyler and is now considered one of the world’s top freestyler’s. More recently, Abbas has won the Hong Kong 2007 freestyle competition to add to the growing list of titles won. Abbas believes his true potential is not yet achieved and is always developing new skills to add to his already huge skills portfolio.
You are looking at one of the founding fathers of football freestyle.
The website says he has created a whole slew of new ‘tricks’ and has a whole set of his videos, including anÂ Nike MTV commercial (read about the Ad here). One, in particular, is worth adding here as we end the post- it features Abbas Farid with Brazilian soccer powerhose Ronaldinho and Moroccon footballer Soufiane Alloudi: