Haider lucky the Pakistani freestyle underdog

"Every freestyle football move today, from back-heels to step-overs, stuns the crowd in a country that has traditionally been obsessed with cricket. Although soccer is a popular sport in Pakistan, freestyle football was never included in the country's ' tricktionary ' in 2013, the year Haider Lucky used to play it. While the greatest stadiums in the world erupted in applause and whistles for brilliant freestylers, this Pakistani freestyle footballer was mocked and ridiculed for his 'foreign' skills. After all, he was performing for an audience that enjoyed street monkey shows and reptile wrestling."

The Journey:

"Part of what kept Haider going was his passion, but he also understood that he was over a decade ahead of his time. Some people are simply privileged, while others must rely on their abilities and expertise. Haider had a lot of talent, and with the stage name 'Lucky,' the chances were stacked in his favour. Haider wanted to be known as Pakistan's "top freestyle footballer. It was a lofty aim, but he was intelligent enough to foresee the tough competition ahead. "I began playing football at a young age. What would a youngster do if he was constantly accompanied by a football? I started doing tricks, as you could have suspected. I had no idea what I was doing; it was just a game for me. I had a lot of fun with the ball when I did something unusual with it "As he tosses the ball around with knee-stalls and crossovers, Haider says. All he needed was some airtime on television. When he saw Ronaldo on TV performing tricks, it all made sense, and he was even more motivated. He attempted to recreate his movements, but he had no idea what this skill set was or what potential it had because he didn't have access to the internet."

""Ronaldo was, just like any other fan of football, my personal favourite. So, when I saw him on TV, I began to mimic him "Haider reminisces about happier times in his life. When he viewed Red Bull Street Style videos, Haider's interest became an obsession. "I used to carry out various stunts, but I had no idea it was an art form And a legitimate sport. Furthermore, I was unaware that Red Bull sponsors a competition for it. That sparked my interest, so I added four hours of freestyling to my two-hour workout "The artist from Lahore explains. I had a definite aim in mind: I wanted to establish Pakistan's freestyle football scene and represent the country internationally. With this goal in mind Haider set out to get the impossible and the rest is history." I was just playing football like I had since I was a teenager," he says, "but freestyle was what I adored.""

Streets to International :

"Haider initially had access to the internet in 2015. He got on YouTube to watch freestyle football videos and practise new skills, eager to unleash the superstar in him. "I only wanted to learn as many tricks as possible. All of this time, people thought I was insane. As I struggled to become a freestyle footballer and represent Pakistan, my friends teased me "Haider recalls the hurdles he had along the way." While practising, there was a period when I started coming up with my own stunts. It was a moment that drowned out all the unpleasant noise in the room. It was the ideal situation for me. When I felt secure in my talents, I looked into the Red Bull Street Style competition and the requirements for entry. My ambition since that day has been to pursue it as a career and bring honour to my country."

"Haider was in for a tough time because he picked freestyle football as a career and received minimal support from his family or friends. He was, nevertheless, tremendously grateful to his older brothers, who morally and financially assisted and supported him. "All they wanted for me was to forge my own identity and make our nation great," they used to say."

"In 2016, his hard work and devotion paid off as he was given the opportunity to represent Pakistan on the Red Bull Street Style platform for the first time." In Pakistan, freestyle gave me a sense of self. People now identify me as a freestyle footballer in every city I visit. I've performed in my universities and colleges, and I've even danced while doing freestyle "he added."


"In the 2020 edition of Red Bull Street Style, Haider represented Pakistan. Red Bull Street Style 2020 pushed the official Freestyle Football World Championship to the next level with internet streaming, after five decades of World Finals across five continents."

"Red Bull, Haider says, provided him with the platform he needed to exhibit his talent and earn a spot in the World XI. For his accomplishments, he received a certificate from the World Freestyle Football Association."

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