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Man, 75, aims to be world's oldest professional footballer

Ezzeldin Bahader recently registered successfully with the Egyptian FA.

An Egyptian man is seeking to become the oldest professional footballer in the world at the age of 75.

Ezzeldin Bahader, who grew up in Cairo and played football at an amateur level from an early age, recently registered successfully with the Egyptian Football Association.

The father of four and grandfather of six worked as a civil engineering consultant before becoming a land cultivation expert, but is now training with third-tier Egyptian club October 6, who accepted the 75-year-old in January after his applications with other teams failed.

Bahader, who lives in New Cairo in a gated community called Rehab City, is also working with a personal trainer to regain his fitness.

"[Former Egyptian goalkeeper Essam] El-Hadary is as old as my children," Bahader said. "Why do players quit at the age of 35? They could have played so much and trained and fulfilled themselves, and so they do not have the internal need, desire and ambition to do something.

"But I consider myself a junior player. I still have a long way ahead of me ... I did not practise enough [before]. I have not gotten bored of the training, I have not grown tired, my muscles have still not gotten used to certain positions. I am still at the beginning of the road. I will go on."

In order to be recognised as the world's oldest professional player, Bahader needs to play two 90-minute matches, a task the striker hopes to accomplish in March.

A representative of Guinness World Records will attend the second match to assess Bahader's claim.

"For me, it is not just being the oldest player," he said. "I want to be the oldest player, who also plays well. If I only achieve the title of the oldest player, by entering the [Guinness] World Records, but did not play well, I will not realise my plan. It will be the end of it for me."

The Guinness World Record for the oldest professional footballer is held by Israeli Isaak Hayik, who played in goal last April for Israel's Ironi Or Yehuda, aged 73.

In January, one of the longest careers in football was extended when 52-year-old striker Kazuyoshi Miura signed a contract with J-League club Yokohama FC.

Miura, who turns 53 on Feb. 26, will enter his 35th season this year.

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